b. Guatemala City, Guatemala, 1903, d. Livingston, New Jersey, 1981
Alfred Jensen (b. 1903, Guatemala City; d. 1981, Livingston, New Jersey) studied painting at the San Diego Fine Arts School and in Munich under Hans Hoffman. After moving to the United States in 1934, his patron Saidie Alder May encouraged him to pursue his interest in color theory and pattern. Jensen’s intricately organized diagrams reflect his distinctive conceptual approach, begun in the late 1950s when he started to refine his wide-ranging studies of systems and philosophies—from theories of color and light, mathematics, and the Mayan calendar, to scientific formulations—into multicolored checkerboards. He used mathematical systems to construct two-dimensional grid paintings and demonstrate color theories, but the work itself is metaphorical, referencing pre-Colombian and Asian cultures, textiles, and divination.