Work of the Week – June 9, 2014
by Michelle Alwine
Born Annelise Else Frieda Fleischmann in Berlin, June 12, 1899, Anni Albers grew to be one of the most well-known textile artists of the 20th century. Coming from a family background in publishing and furniture making, Albers showed interest in the arts at a very young age. Several years under an impressionist led her to pursue art school, Kunstgewerbeschule in Hamburg. After only two months at the institution, Albers eventually moved on to the Bauhaus in Weimar in 1922.
It was at Bauhaus that Albers developed a passion for working in textiles. After being declined from enrollment in a glass workshop instructed by her future husband, Josef Albers, Anni unenthusiastically settled on a weaving course. However, as the course played out, Albers became fascinated with the task and invention of weaving. Her instructor, Gunta Stolzl helped Albers to see the beauty in the art form.
In 1933, Josef and Anni Albers were prompted to accept a job opportunity at Black Mountain College in North Carolina after increasing pressure from the Nazi Party had resulted in the Bauhaus closing. The couple taught in North Carolina until 1949 when Josef accepted chairman of the Department of Design at the Yale University School of Art and the pair moved to Connecticut. Shortly after their move, Anni was commissioned by Gropius to design several materials for Harvard. These products were eventually mass produced as bedspreads, wall hangings, curtains, etc.
In 1963, Albers began testing the waters of screen printing, print making, and lithography. These experiments would lead to awards such as the American Craft Council Gold Medal as she was recognized for “uncompromising excellence” in 1980. Yellow Meander is one of many prints of Ablers that became widely popular in the textile printing industry. This 19.50 x 19.50 serigraph was created in 1970, shortly after her initial experimentation with printing and lithography. The Museum purchased this piece for the permanent collection in 1992, shortly before Albers passed away on May 9, 1994.
Jewish Virtual Library. (2014). Anni Albers. Retrieved from https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/Albers.html
The Josef & Anni Albers Foundation. (2013). Josef & Anni Albers. Retrieved from http://albersfoundation.org/artists/biographies/