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.

Timeline

1888
Born in Bottrop, Westphalia, Germany
1925
Appointed Bauhaus master, Dessau, Germany
1939
Became a citizen of the United States
1933–1948
Taught at Black Mountain College, Black Mountain, NC
1948–1950
Member of Advisor Council of the Arts, Yale University, New Haven, CT
1950
Appointed Director of Department of Design, Yale University, New Haven, CT
1975
Died in New Haven, CT

Exhibitions

2013
Window to the World. From Durer to Mondrian and Beyond Museo Cantonale d'Arte and Museo d'Arte, Lugano September 16, 2012 to January 6, 2013 Fondation de l'Hermitage, Lausanne January 25 to May 20, 2013
2013
Josef Albers: Spritualità e Rigore (Josef Albers: Spirituality and Rigor) Galleria Nazionale dell'Umbria, Perugia March 19 to June 19, 2013
2012–2013
Inventing Abstraction MOMA, New York December 23, 2012 to April 15, 2013
2012
50 Years of Prints - Greg Kucera Gallery, Seattle, WA
2012
Josef Albers en Amérique - Galerie Keza, Paris
2012
Josef Albers - Galerie Denise René - Rive Gauche, Paris
2012
Josef Albers en Amérique, Peintures sur papier - Centre Pompidou - Musée National d´Art Moderne, Paris
2012
The Sacred Modernist: Josef Albers as a Catholic Artist - Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Cork
2011
Josef Albers in Amerika - Malerei auf Papier - Kunstmuseum Basel, Basel
2011
Josef Albers - Galleria Civica di Modena, Modena
2011
Louisiana – on paper Josef Albers - Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk
2010
Josef Albers - Formulation: Articulation, 1972 - Peter Blum Gallery, New York City, NY
2010
Josef Albers: Minimal Means, Maximum Effect - Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Art, Kaohsiung City
2010
Malerei auf Papier - Josef Albers in Amerika - Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich
2009
Josef Albers Screenprints - Ruskin Gallery - Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire (England)
2009
Josef Albers - Interaction of Color - Städtische Kunsthalle Mannheim, Mannheim
2009
Josef Albers - Paintings - Waddington Custot Galleries, London (England)
2008
Auktion 26, Lehr - Auktionshaus und Galerie, Berlin, Germany
Pop and Op, Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn Harbor, NY
2007
Pop Art and its Affinities, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
2006
Group Show, The Barbara Krakow Gallery, Boston, MA
2005
Logical Conclusions, PaceWildenstein, New York, NY
2004
The Daimler Art Collection, Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria, Gauteng Province, South Africa
2003
Minimal to the Max - The Brownstone Collection, Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FL
2002
Works on Paper, The Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, Portland, OR
2001
Astratta, Palazzo Cavour, Turin, Italy
2000
Art Concret, Espace de l'art concret, Mouans Sartoux, France
1999
Cool and Square, Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, Stanford, CA
1998
The Fervour of DADA, ARKEN Museum of Moderne Kunst, Copenhagen
1932
Bauhaus
1929
Bauhaus exhibition, The Kunsthalle Basel & the Kunstgewerbemuseum, Zürich, Switzerland

Public Collections

Museum of Modern Art, New York
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California
Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
Tate Modern, London, England
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England
Asheville Art Museum, Asheville, North Carolina
British Museum, London, England
Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, New York
Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas
Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, Michigan
Josef Albers Museum, Bottrop, Germany

Literature

“A Note on the Arts in Education” American Magazine of Art 29 (April 1936): 233
“Art and General Education.” Yale Alumni Magazine, April 1958, 6-7, 16
Interaction of Color. Small ed. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1971, rev. 1974. German ed. (Grundlegung einer Didaktik des Sehens), Cologne: Verlag M. DuMont Schauberg, 1970, 1977. Japanese ed., Tokyo: David Sha, 1975. French ed. (L’Interaction des Couleurs), Paris: Librairie Hachette, 1974. Spanish ed. (La interacción del color), Madrid: Alianza Forma, 1975, 1989, 1998. Finnish ed. (Varien vuorovaikutus), Helsinki: Vaapa Taidekoulu, 1978, 1979, 1992. Swedish ed. (Farglara om fargers inverkan pa varandra), Stockholmm: Forum, 1983. Italian ed. (Líinterazione del colore), Parma: Pratiche Editrice, 1988, 1991
Weber, Nicholas Fox. The Drawings of Josef Albers. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1984
Wick, Rainer K. Teaching at the Bauhaus. Ostfilden-Ruit, Germany: Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2000
Benezra, Neal David. The Murals and Sculpture of Josef Albers. Ph.D. Diss., Stanford University, 1983. New York and London: Garland Publishing. Outstanding Dissertations in the Fine Arts, 1985
Borchardt-Hume, Achim (Ed) Albers and Moholy-Nagy: From the Bauhaus to the New World. Contributions by Hal Foster, Hattula Moholy-Nagy, Terence A. Senter, Nicholas Fox Weber, and Michael White. London: Tate Publishing and New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006. www.tate.org.uk/publishing; www.yalepress.yale.edu
Boston University Art Gallery. Josef Albers in Black and White. Essays by John Stomberg, Karen E. Haas, and Brenda Danilowitz. Boston: Boston University; Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2000
Josef Albers: Paintings, Prints, Projects. Essay by George Heard Hamilton. New Haven: Yale University Art Gallery, 1956
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Josef Albers: A Retrospective. Essays by Nicholas Fox Weber, Neal D. Benezra, Mary Emma Harris, and Charles Rickart. New York: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Harry N. Abrams, 1988; Cologne: DuMont Verlag, 1988