Alfred Jensen (American, 1903–1981) was an Abstract painter best known for grids composed of colored geometric shapes, painted in impasto. Born in Guatemala, he grew up in Denmark and studied in Paris and at Hans Hoffman’s art school in Munich. He traveled widely before settling in New York City in 1951. His early work is similar to that of Abstract Expressionists, but in the early 1960s Jensen began to paint according to symbolic geometric patterns. His work has a broad range of influences, including cosmology, Mayan and ancient Chinese calendars, the color theories of Goethe, and the writings of Leonardo da Vinci. One of his early works, Beginning Cycle – Ending (1960), is composed of five panels divided into grids, and is inscribed with a number from the Shang oracle bone inscriptions, from the 14th to 11th centuries B.C. His work is related to his contemporaries who were interested in systems of time, such as Alighiero Boetti and On Kawara. Jensen’s work has been exhibited at the Dia Art Foundation and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, and at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. His work is currently held in several public collections, including the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

Timeline

1903
Born in Guatemala City, Guatemala
1924–1925
San Diego Fine Arts School, San Diego, USA
1926–1928
Heymann-Schule, Hofmann-Schule, Munich, Germany
1934
Moved to the USA
1929–1937
Studied Architecture, Painting at Académie Scandinave, Paris, France
1959
Painted Mural in Time/Life Building, Paris, France
1981
Died in Livingston, USA

Exhibitions

2010
Von Arp bis Tinguely, Galerie Ziegler SA, Zürich, Switzerland
1978
Works from 1957-1977, Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, USA
1977
Bienale, Sao Paulo, Brazil
1966
Galerie Renée Ziegler, Zürich, Switzerland
1963
Kornfeld & Klipstein, Bern, Switzerland
1961
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA
1957
Winterthur, Switzerland
1952
John Heller Gallery, New York, USA