Anni Albers

Connecticut, United States

Textile designer, weaver, printmaker, and writer Anni Albers (née Annelise Elsa Frieda Fleischmann) was born in Berlin, Germany on June 12th, 1899. Between 1916 and 1919, she studied art under Martin Brandenburg in Berlin. She went on to study at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Hamburg from 1919–20, and then at the influential Bauhaus in Weimar (1922–25) and Dessau (1925–29), where she studied under painters Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee and entered into the school’s weaving workshop. While still a student, she experimented with innovative weaving materials and became a daring abstract artist. In 1922, at the Bauhaus in Weimar, she met painter, color theorist, writer, and educator Josef Albers (1888–1976)—perhaps best known for his Homages to the Square, painted between 1950 and 1976. The two married in 1925.

In 1933, after the Bauhaus closed, the couple settled in the USA. Mrs. Albers taught at the experimental Black Mountain College in North Carolina from 1933 to 1949. During that time, she wove extensively, wrote a number of essays on design, and produced fabrics from unusual materials such as cellophane and jute. She became a US citizen in 1937. In 1950, the family moved to Connecticut, where her husband served as chairman of the Department of Design at Yale University School of Art. In 1963, after a visit to the Tamarind Lithography Workshop in Los Angeles (where Mr. Albers had a fellowship), she began experimenting in printmaking, from screen-printing to lithography and etching. In 1965, she published her seminal text, On Weaving. She oversaw her husband’s legacy, following his death in 1976, while continuing to expand her own textile design and printmaking efforts. She passed away in May 1994 in Orange, Connecticut, firmly established as one of the 20th century’s foremost textile artists.