31 Facts About Josef Albers


Josef Albers was a German-born artist and educator.


Josef Albers is best known for his work as an abstract painter and a theorist.


Josef Albers was born into a Roman Catholic family of craftsmen in Bottrop, Westphalia, Germany in 1888.


Josef Albers's childhood included practical training in engraving glass, plumbing, and wiring, giving Josef versatility and lifelong confidence in the handling and manipulation of diverse materials.


Josef Albers worked from 1908 to 1913 as a schoolteacher in his home town; he trained as an art teacher at Konigliche Kunstschule in Berlin, Germany, from 1913 to 1915.


Josef Albers enrolled as a student in the preliminary course of Johannes Itten at the Weimar Bauhaus in 1920.


The director and founder of the Bauhaus, Walter Gropius, asked him in 1923 to teach in the preliminary course 'Werklehre' of the department of design to introduce newcomers to the principles of handicrafts, because Josef Albers came from that background and had appropriate practice and knowledge.

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In 1925, the year the Bauhaus moved to Dessau, Josef Albers was promoted to professor.


The so-called "form master" Klee taught the formal aspects in the glass workshops where Josef Albers was the "crafts master"; they cooperated for several years.


The architect Philip Johnson, then a curator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, arranged for Josef Albers to be offered a job as head of a new art school, Black Mountain College, in North Carolina.


Josef Albers invited important American artists such as Willem de Kooning, to teach in the summer seminar.


Weil remarked that, as a teacher, Josef Albers was "his own academy".


Josef Albers said that Albers claimed that "when you're in school, you're not an artist, you're a student", although he was very supportive of self-expression when one became an artist and began on her or his journey.


Josef Albers produced many woodcuts and leaf studies at this time.


In 1950, Josef Albers left Black Mountain to head the department of design at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.


Josef Albers worked at Yale until he retired from teaching in 1958.


Josef Albers collaborated with Yale professor and architect King-lui Wu in creating decorative designs for some of Wu's projects.


Josef Albers's album cover for Terry Snyder and the All Stars 1959 album, Persuasive Percussion, shows a tightly packed grid or lattice of small black disks from which a few wander up and out as if stray molecules of some light gas.


Josef Albers was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1973.


Josef Albers continued to paint and write, staying in New Haven with his wife, textile artist Anni Josef Albers, until his death in 1976.


Josef Albers produced album covers for over three years between 1959 and 1961, Albers' seven album sleeves for Command Records incorporated elements such as circles and grids of dots, highly uncommon in his practice.


Josef Albers favored a very disciplined approach to composition, especially in the hundreds of paintings and prints that make up the series Homage to the Square.


At the invitation of a former student, the Australian architect Harry Seidler, Josef Albers designed the mural Wrestling for the Mutual Life Centre in Sydney.


In 1963, Josef Albers published Interaction of Color, which is a record of an experiential way of studying and teaching color.


Josef Albers asserted that color "is almost never seen as it really is" and that "color deceives continually", and he suggested that color is best studied via experience, underpinned by experimentation and observation.

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Josef Albers presented color systems at the end of his courses and these featured descriptions of primary, secondary and tertiary color, as well as a range of connotations that he assigned to specific colors on his triangular color model.


In respect to his artworks, Josef Albers was known to meticulously list the specific manufacturer's colours and varnishes he used on the back of his works, as if the colours were catalogued components of an optical experiment.


Josef Albers's work represents a transition between traditional European art and the new American art.


Josef Albers is considered to be one of the most influential teachers of visual art in the twentieth century.


In each case Lee suggested that Josef Albers made fundamental errors with serious consequences for his claims about colour and his pedagogical method.


Dorothea Jameson has challenged Lee's criticism of Josef Albers, arguing that Josef Albers' approach toward painting and pedagogy emphasized artists' experiences in the handling and mixing of pigments, which often have different results than predicted by color theory experiments with projected light or spinning color disks.