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Alfred Jensen

Alfred Jensen

*  1903 Guatemala City/Guatemala
† 1981 Livingston/New Jersey

After his mother's untimely death, the American painter Alfred Jensen spent his youth in Denmark, where he showed an interest in drawing from an early age. After finishing school, Alfred Jensen went to sea for several years. Returning to America, he stayed in California and Guatemala before settling in San Diego in 1924. A scholarship made it possible for Jensen to study at the San Diego Fine Arts School under Eugene De Vol in 1924-25. In 1926 Jensen went to Munich, where he studied under Hans Hofmann until 1928. From 1929 until 1937 Jensen was in Paris, travelling from there to North Africa and European cities before settling in New York. His meeting with André Masson in Lyon-la-Forêt in 1938 left a lasting impression on Jensen. Although his beginnings were gestural and expressionist, Jensen turned in 1957 to a geometric, abstract style of painting in the pure colours of the spectrum, an approach based on Jensen's study of Goethe's Farbenlehre [Theory of Colours] and the writings of Leonardo da Vinci. Jensen was also interested in number systems and theory, especially the Maya calendar and its relationship to the planet systems, as well as Michael Faraday's theories and dealt with some of this material in his paintings. During this period Alfred Jensen travelled to Guatemala, Mexico, Brazil and Peru. In 1972 he moved from New York, where he was teaching at Columbia University, to Glen Ridge, New Jersey. Jensen was very prolific and his work was shown from the 1950s at international exhibitions. It was presented to the German public when Jensen participated in documenta V and a touring exhibition at the Kestner-Gesellschaft in Hanover in 1973. Alfred Jensen died in New Jersey in 1981.