Josef Albers

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Josef

Albers

Bottrop, Germany
<p>Image: Josef Albers, 1908. © Josef and Anni Albers Foundation</p>

Born in 1888 in Bottrop, Germany, Josef Albers started teaching at age 20 at a public school in his hometown. He left his position to pursue art, studying printmaking, painting, and stained glass techniques at various schools in Germany. He enrolled at the Bauhaus in Weimar in 1920, where he initially studied stained glass.

Image: Josef Albers, 1908. © Josef and Anni Albers Foundation

Dessau, Germany
<p>Image: Photo by Otto Umbehr (Umbo), Josef Albers and students in a group critique at the Bauhaus Dessau, 1928–29.<br />
Courtesy of The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation © Phyllis Umbehr/Galerie Kicken Berlin/DACS 2012</p>

At the Bauhaus in Dessau, Germany, Josef Albers made sandblasted glass paintings, glass windows, and furniture among other things. There he also met textile artist Anni Albers, and the two were married in 1925. Albers became assistant director of the Bauhaus in 1930, and he headed a glass workshop at the school until it was closed under Nazi pressure in 1933. Albers and many of the other artists dispersed, leaving Germany and emigrating to the United States.

Image: Photo by Otto Umbehr (Umbo), Josef Albers and students in a group critique at the Bauhaus Dessau, 1928–29.
Courtesy of The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation © Phyllis Umbehr/Galerie Kicken Berlin/DACS 2012

Asheville, North Carolina: BMC
<p>Image: Students in one of Josef Albers's color theory classes. Courtesy Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina, Asheville, NC.</p>

Months after the official Bauhaus closing, Josef Albers was invited to teach at the newly-formed Black Mountain College in Asheville, North Carolina, despite knowing little English. The first visual art teacher at the college, Albers integrated many of the lessons from the Bauhaus into the curriculum, teaching influential courses in design, color, and material. Albers’s students included Ray Johnson, Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, and Susan Weil, and his teaching had a lasting influence on both American art and education.

Image: Students in one of Josef Albers's color theory classes. Courtesy Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina, Asheville, NC.

Mexico
<p>Image: Josef Albers, "Pyramid of Tenajuca", n.d., gelatin silver print, 6 7/8 inches x 9 7/8 inches.<br />
© The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/ Artists Rights Society New York. Photo by Tim Nighswander/Imaging 4 Art</p>

Josef and Anni Albers made fourteen trips to Mexico and Latin America. After resigning from Black Mountain College in 1949, Josef taught at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). In addition to Mexico, Albers was invited to teach in countries such as Chile and Cuba, enabling the couple to travel extensively.

Image: Josef Albers, "Pyramid of Tenajuca", n.d., gelatin silver print, 6 7/8 inches x 9 7/8 inches.
© The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/ Artists Rights Society New York. Photo by Tim Nighswander/Imaging 4 Art

New Haven, Connecticut

In 1950 Josef Albers became the chair of the Department of Design at Yale University. His courses on color, drawing, and design became famous at Yale, where he was a modernizing force in a traditional art department. After retiring from his post in 1958, Albers continued to teach all over the United States and abroad. He was an influential teacher for a generation of artists including Ruth Asawa, Eva Hesse, and Robert Rauschenberg (who declared Albers “the most important teacher I’ve ever had”).

Video : Josef Albers teaching at Yale by John Cohen, c. 1955 © John Cohen / The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, 2013 vimeo.com/106979210 (SILENT)