Anni Albers: Leading textile artist of the 20th century

Anni Albers - With Verticals, 1946, cotton and linen, 154.9 x 118.1 cm
Anni Albers – With Verticals, 1946, cotton and linen, 154.9 x 118.1 cm

Anni Albers was a well known German textile artist and prominent printmaker. She is perhaps one of the most well-known print artists of the 20th century. Albers dared to go where no textile designer had gone before, which in part helped to launch her designs into popularity. Born in Berlin, Albers became a student of the Bauhaus in Weimar which is where she met and married Josef Albers. Albers sometimes with help from her husband managed to blur traditional boundaries that existed between craft and art. Albers blended her talent as a painter, designer, artist, and teacher to create a highly successful career that lasted over 60 years.

When she first started out at the Bauhaus, Albers was enrolled by the school in the only course that female students could take at that time. Although she was not particularly interested in the field of weaving, Albers eventually grew to love the craft and everything associated with designing textiles. She learned how to come up with richly colored and complex abstract compositions through her use of natural and synthetic fibers. Soon, her works started to gain her recognition along the halls of the Bauhaus where she quickly became one of the most renowned members of the workshop.

Beyond her integration of abstract modernism into the textiles that she weaved, Albers also managed to introduce new technologies to the weaving shop. Her use of synthetic fibers and cellophane to come up with acoustic panels influenced other manufacturers to create panels in a similar style, which led to groundbreaking innovations in theater design. Albers achievements became so widespread that in 1949, the Museum of Modern Art exhibited her work. This show allowed her to travel to various parts of the world, which further cemented her reputation as the best textile designer in the world.

Graphic, bright and timeless are some of the words that come to mind when attempting to describe Anni Albers’ work. With assistance from her husband Josef, who was also equally as respected in Bauhaus and the rest of the world, the couple created wonderful abstract compositions that are still as impressive today as they were when they were first introduced to the world.

Somewhere along with her career, Albers also developed an interest in lithography and screen printing which allowed her to explore the interplay between patterns and bold color combinations. Her contribution to the field of textiles still remains intact today.

Anni Albers - Pictorial Weavings, Installation view at MIT New Gallery, 1959
Anni Albers – Pictorial Weavings, installation view at MIT New Gallery, 1959

Anni Albers - Work in progress. Experimenting. 1950 - 1962
Anni Albers – Work in progress. Experimenting. 1950 – 1962

Anni Albers - Two, 1952, linen, cotton, and rayon
Anni Albers – Two, 1952, linen, cotton, and rayon
1: Black-White-Gold I, 1950. Cotton, jute and metallic ribbon.
2: Haiku, 1961, Plain weave alternating metallic and hemp with supplementary wefts of black and white cotton and silver.
3: Code, 1962, Photo Offset

Anni Albers - Tikal, 1958, Cotton, 30 x 23 in
Anni Albers – Tikal, 1958, Cotton, 30 x 23 in

Anni Albers - Wallhanging, 1926, silk 72 × 48 in. (182.9 × 122 cm)
Anni Albers – Wall Hanging, 1926, silk 72 × 48 in. (182.9 × 122 cm)

Anni Albers - Wallhanging, 1925, silk, cotton, acetate 50 × 38 in. (127 × 96.5 cm)
Anni Albers – Wall Hanging, 1925, silk, cotton, acetate 50 × 38 in. (127 × 96.5 cm)

Anni Albers - Wall hanging, 1925, wool and silk, 93 × 373⁄4 in. (236 × 96 cm)
Anni Albers – Wall hanging, 1925, wool and silk, 93 × 373⁄4 in. (236 × 96 cm)

Anni Albers - Black White Gray, 1927:1964, cotton and silk 581⁄4 × 473⁄4 in. (147.9 × 121.3 cm)
Anni Albers – Black White Gray, 1927/1964, cotton and silk 581⁄4 × 473⁄4 in. (147.9 × 121.3 cm)

Anni Albers - Black White Red, 1926:1964, cotton and silk 69 × 461⁄2 in. (175 × 118 cm)
Anni Albers – Black White Red, 1926/1964, cotton and silk 69 × 461⁄2 in. (175 × 118 cm)

Anni Albers - Black White Yellow, 1926:1964, silk and rayon 80 × 47 in. (203 × 119 cm)
Anni Albers – Black White Yellow, 1926/1964, silk and rayon 80 × 47 in. (203 × 119 cm)

Anni Albers - Monte Alban, 1936, Silk, linen, wool, 146 x 112 cm
Anni Albers – Monte Alban, 1936, Silk, linen, wool, 146 x 112 cm

Anni Albers - From the East, 1963, Cotton and plastic, 63.5 x 41.4 cm
Anni Albers – From the East, 1963, Cotton and plastic, 63.5 x 41.4 cm

Anni Albers - Red and Blue Layers, 1954, Cotton, 61.6 x 37.8 cm.
Anni Albers – Red and Blue Layers, 1954, Cotton, 61.6 x 37.8 cm

Anni Albers - City, 1949, Linen and cotton pictorial weaving, 17 1:2 × 26 1:2 in, 44.5 × 67.3 cm
Anni Albers – City, 1949, Linen and cotton pictorial weaving, 17 1/2 × 26 1/2 in, 44.5 × 67.3 cm

Anni Albers - Sheep May Safely Graze, 1959, Cotton, synthetic fiber; woven- plain weave and leno, 36.8 x 59.7 cm
Anni Albers – Sheep May Safely Graze, 1959, Cotton, synthetic fiber; woven- plain weave and leno, 36.8 x 59.7 cm

Anni Albers - Smyrna rug, 211 x 251 cm
Anni Albers – Smyrna rug, 211 x 251 cm

Anni Albers - Wallhanging, 1984, wool 98 × 89 in. (243.8 × 226 cm)
Anni Albers – Wallhanging, 1984, wool 98 × 89 in. (243.8 × 226 cm)

Anni Albers - Study for Camino Real, 1967. Gouache on blueprint graph paper, 171⁄2 × 16 in. (44.4 × 40.6 cm)
Anni Albers – Study for Camino Real, 1967. Gouache on blueprint graph paper, 171⁄2 × 16 in. (44.4 × 40.6 cm)

Anni Albers - Design for a 1926 Unexecuted Wallhanging, 1926, Gouache and pencil on reprographic paper, 15 1:8 x 9 7:8 inches (38.4 x 25.1 cm)
Anni Albers – Design for a 1926 Unexecuted Wallhanging, 1926, Gouache and pencil on reprographic paper, 15 1/8 x 9 7/8 inches (38.4 x 25.1 cm)

Anni Albers - Camino Real, 1967, Screenprint on Mohawk Superfine Bristol paper, 59.5 × 56 cm
Anni Albers – Camino Real, 1967, Screenprint on Mohawk Superfine Bristol paper, 59.5 × 56 cm

Anni Albers - Double Impression II, 1978, Photo-offset, 27.94 x 22.86 cm, Edition of 50
Anni Albers – Double Impression II, 1978, Photo-offset, 27.94 x 22.86 cm, Edition of 50

Anni Albers - Red Meander, 1954, linen and cotton, 52 × 37.5 cm
Anni Albers – Red Meander, 1954, linen and cotton, 52 × 37.5 cm

Anni Albers - Red Meander, serigraph, 1969, 50.8 x 41.9 cm
Anni Albers – Red Meander, serigraph, 1969, 50.8 x 41.9 cm

Anni Albers - Second Movement II, 1978, color etching and aquatint, 38.875 x 38.875 in
Anni Albers – Second Movement II, 1978, color etching and aquatint, 38.875 x 38.875 in

Anni Albers - Second Movement V, 1978, color etching and aquatin, 17-5:16 x 17-7:16 in (image)
Anni Albers – Second Movement V, 1978, color etching and aquatin, 17-5/16 x 17-7/16 in (image)

Anni Albers - Knot, 1947, gouache on paper, 17 × 20 in. (43.2 × 51 cm)
Anni Albers – Knot, 1947, gouache on paper, 17 × 20 in. (43.2 × 51 cm)

Anni Albers - Untitled, 1963
Anni Albers – Untitled, 1963

Anni Albers - Connections- Untitled, 1983, screenprint, 69.9 x 50.8 cm
Anni Albers – Connections: Untitled, 1983, screenprint, 69.9 x 50.8 cm

Anni Albers - Orchestra III, 1980, Photo-offset, 18 × 17 in, 45.7 × 43.2 cm, Edition of 50
Anni Albers – Orchestra III, 1980, Photo-offset, 18 × 17 in, 45.7 × 43.2 cm, Edition of 50

Anni Albers with textile samples in her home in New Haven, Connecticut, ca. 1950
Anni Albers with textile samples in her home in New Haven, Connecticut, ca. 1950

 

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