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Monday, May 13, 2013

Josef Albers

Josef Albers (1888-1976) was born in Bottrop, Germany, where he later taught elementary school and art. In 1920 he became a student at the Bauhaus, where he worked primarily in stained and sandblasted glass. He also designed furniture, household items and typeface.

In 1925 he was the first Bauhaus student to be asked to teach there and become a "master," becoming one of their best-known artists and instructors. He met and married Annelise Fleischmann there, and they lived alongside Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky and Oscar Schlemmer. His wife, better known as Anni Albers, was a textile designer, weaver, writer and printmaker.

In 1933 the Bauhaus closed, and the Albers immigrated to the United States, where Josef had been asked to teach at the Black Mountain College near Asheville, North Carolina. They were at Black Mountain until 1949, during which time Josef Albers explored printmaking techniques and abstract painting.

In 1950 Albers became chairman of the Department of Design at Yale University School of Art. While there, he trained a new generation of art teachers. Meanwhile, he wrote about color theory and continued to paint and make prints.

In 1971 he was the first living artist to be honored with a solo retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. He died in 1976 and is best known for the Homages to the Square he painted between 1950 and 1976 and for his innovative 1963 publication The Interaction of Color.

All images from

Red and White, 1923 (stained glass window)

Fruitbowl, 1924

Teacup, 1926

Stacking tables, 1926

Goldrosa - Upward (Structure in Red), 1926 (glass)

Armchair, 1928

Design for universal typeface, 1926

Sanctuary, 1942

Variant/Adobe, 1947

Homage to the Square: Blue and Green, 1950

Homage to the Square: Guarded, 1952

Repeat and Reverse, 1963

Homage to the Square, 1966

Homage to the Square, 1976


  1. Don't take that tea cup into a lab - you might get confused and end up sipping tea from a pyrex dish of germs! That's some good advice, right?

  2. I just love the simplicity of the homage to the square series. xx

    1. I love that about them too...and such beautiful colors.