Joseph Albers was born March 19, 1888, in Bottrop, Germany. From 1905 to 1908, he studied to become a teacher in Büren and then taught in Westphalian primary schools from 1908 to 1913. After attending the Königliche Kunstschule in Berlin from 1913 to 1915, he was certified as an art teacher. Albers studied lithography in Essen and attended the Academy in Munich before entering the Bauhaus in Weimar in 1920. There, he initially concentrated on glass painting and in 1922, as a Bauhausgeselle (journeyman), he was in charge of the Bauhaus glass workshop. In 1923, he began to teach the Vorkurs, a basic design course. When the Bauhaus moved to Dessau in 1925, he became Bauhausmeister (professor). In addition to working in glass and metal, he designed furniture and typography.Read More
After the Bauhaus was forced to close in 1933, Albers emigrated to the United States. That same year, he became head of the art department at the Black Mountain College, near Asheville, North Carolina, where he continued to teach until 1949. In 1935, he took the first of many trips to Mexico, and in 1936 was given his first solo show in New York at J.B. Neumann's New Art Circle. He became a United States citizen in 1939. In 1949, Albers began his first studies, in black and white, for the famous Homage to the Square series.
He lectured and taught at various colleges and universities throughout the United States and from 1950 to 1958 served as head of the design department at Yale University, New Haven. In addition to painting, printmaking, and executing murals and architectural commissions, Albers published poetry, articles, and books on art. Thus, as a theoretician and teacher, he was an important influence on generations of young artists. A major Albers exhibition, orgainised by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, traveled in South America, Mexico, and the United States from 1965 to 1967, and a retrospective of his work has held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in 1971. Albers lived and worked in New Haven, Connecticut, until his death there on March 25, 1976.
Text courtesy Krakow Witkin Gallery.
It is possible that society has never been more poorly prepared than in the present cultural moment to appreciate an artist like Josef Albers (1888–1976). The German-American painter's deliberate, introspective, and contemplative art seems in many ways to be utterly incompatible with our overriding fascination with the big, the 'now,' the...
Art rarely thrives in a vacuum. It is by definition polyglot and in flux, buffeted by the movement of art objects, goods and people across borders and among cultures, and also by individual passion. This much, especially the passion part, is demonstrated by "Josef Albers in Mexico," a quietly stunning exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum...
In the 1930s, Josef and Anni Albers made the first of many trips to Mexico. There's a picture of Josef Albers taken by Anni at Mitla in Oaxaca about 1937. He's in profile, and behind him, filling the rest of the frame, are the frenetic, step-fret forms of the stone mosaics that drew archaeologists to the Zapotec site. The photo—these people...
The entrance hall to the Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery at the British Museum is blood-red, and covered in Andy Warhol's psychedelic screenprints of Marilyn Monroe's face. It's a punchy start to the exhibition, The American Dream: Pop to the Present.
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