Josef Albers

Painter, sculptor, and architect Josef Albers (American/German, 1888–1976) taught at the Bauhaus, one of the most prestigious and progressive art schools in Europe, and is considered one of the most influential art teachers of the 20th century. Born in Bottrop, Germany, Albers began studying art in Munich, and then at the Bauhaus in Weimar in the early 1920s. In 1923, he was asked to teach a glassmaking workshop at the Bauhaus, which combined principles of painting, craft, and design in leading avant-garde philosophies about art. In 1925, Albers moved with the Bauhaus to Dessau, Germany, and later to Berlin, teaching courses in glassmaking and furniture design.

Following the forced closure of the Bauhaus in 1933 due to the rise of Nazism, Albers immigrated to the United States, and became an American citizen in 1939. He taught at Black Mountain College and at Yale University, painting works such as his famous Homage to the Square series, which experimented with color theory and juxtaposed hues. In 1963, Albers published a treatise on color theory, entitled The Interaction of Color, and his experiments with color and geometric abstractions led to further series, including Variants, Biconjugates, Structural Constellations, and sandblasted glass paintings. Retrospectives of Albers’s work have been held at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, and at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Albers died in New Haven, CT in 1976. The same year, the Josef Albers Foundation was established, and, in 1983, a museum dedicated to the artist was opened in Bottrop, Germany.