Josef Albers

1888 in Bottrop/Germany – 1976 New Haven, Connecticut/USA

The effect of color, shape, lines and surfaces on visual perception preoccupied Albers throughout his life. His well-known series “Homage to the Square” – consisting of three or four colored, nested squares, each applied using the so-called “painting method” – also bears witness to this. The unmixed color squares demonstrate that the effect of the color on the viewer always depends on the surrounding space. Together with Victor Vasarely he is one of the founders of Op Art.

Biography

After his eduction and working as a primary school teacher in Büren, Joseph Albers began studying in 1913 at the Royal Art School in Berlin, the School of Applied Arts in Essen and the Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin. In 1920, Albers initially went to the Bauhaus in Weimar to continue his studies. In 1923, Albers received a teaching position at the Bauhaus in Weimar, where he studied with Johannes Itten, the founder of color type theory. In 1930 he was appointed deputy director of the Bauhaus.

Under pressure from the National Socialists, Albers and his wife Anni emigrated to the United States in 1933, where he taught at Black Mountain College in North Carolina until 1949. In addition to Robert Rauschenberg, his most famous students include Kenneth Noland and Donald Judd. Since 1950 he has been the head of the art department at Yale University in New Haven/Connecticut and works as a visiting lecturer at Harvard, Hartford, Havana and Santiago de Chile. During this time he also developed his series principle.

In 1968, on his 80th birthday, Albers was given a retrospective at the Landesmuseum Münster and the Documenta in Kassel dedicated an entire hall to his works. Josef Albers died on March 25, 1976 in New Haven, Connecticut. Since 1983, the Josef Albers Museum in the Bottrop square has been showing a large part of the artist’s estate.

WORKS

News

Publications

Enquiry