Josef Albers

Josef Albers ( born March 19, 1888 in Bottrop, † March 25 1976 in New Haven, Connecticut ) was a German painter, art theorist and pedagogue -.


Training and apprenticeship

Albers took from 1905 to 1908 his training at the Teachers' Training College in Buren and then taught as an elementary school teacher. In 1908 he first saw works by Paul Cézanne and Henri Matisse in the Folkwang Museum in Hagen. By Piet Mondrian inspired, he painted his first abstract painting in 1913. After studying at the Royal Art School in Berlin from 1913 to 1915 and the School of Applied Arts in Essen from 1916 to 1919 he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin, and from 1919 to 1920 with Franz von Stuck at the Art Academy in Munich. In 1920 he joined the Bauhaus in Weimar, (from 1925 in Dessau from 1932 to 1933 in Berlin). In 1925, he was there Baumeister and 1930 Deputy Director and taught mainly glass technology and wood processing. In 1932 he had his first solo exhibition. When the Bauhaus was closed by the Nazis in 1933 and all teachers were dismissed, Albers left with his wife Anni, born Fleischmann, Germany and emigrated to the United States.

Successes in the U.S.

In America, he received a call to Black Mountain College in North Carolina, where he worked from November 1933 until 1949. The American citizen, he participated in 1939. Among his most important students include Robert Rauschenberg, Donald Judd, and Kenneth Noland. While teaching at Black Mountain College, he came among other things, with artists such as John Cage and Merce Cunningham in contact. From 1934 to 1936 he was a member of the Parisian art group Abstraction- Création. 1935 traveled the artist couple first time to Cuba and Mexico and was impressed and influenced by the architecture. From 1950 to 1959, he stood before the art department at Yale University, where he taught, among others, Eva Hesse and Richard Serra, Richard Anuszkiewicz and Julian Stanczak. He also had numerous guest lecturers ( as at Harvard, Hartford, Havana and Santiago de Chile). In 1953 he returned to Germany as guest lecturer at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Ulm back.

Work and assessment

Albers experimented on each other with the effect of colors, shapes, lines and areas, with the subjectivity of visual perception: "Only the appearances are not deceptive ." With his drawings on the basis of optical illusions he belongs alongside Victor Vasarely among the founders of Op Art. In this context, part of his famous series Homage to the Square, whose images consist always the same three or four nested squares of different colors. The colors are never mixed, but directly applied from industrially produced colors whose part numbers of the painter noted on the back of the pictures. This will be seen that one and the same color completely different effect on the observer, depending on the environment. Therefore Albers is also counted among the representatives of Hard edge.

Josef Albers took part in documenta 1 in 1955 and the documenta 4 in Kassel in 1968. 1958 awarded him the President of the Cross of Merit, First Class of the Federal Republic of Germany. It was established in 1970 an honorary citizen of his home town of Bottrop, which was later given a large portion of his estate; Since 1983 there is the didactic designed Josef Albers Museum Quadrat Bottrop in.


His most famous works are: