Anni Albers, ‘Untitled, Abstract Op Art Print’, 20th Century, Lions Gallery
Anni Albers, ‘Untitled, Abstract Op Art Print’, 20th Century, Lions Gallery

Vintage Print, not signed or numbered on front, in original period metal frame, by artist Anni Albers.

Berlin, Germany, b. June 12, 1899, d. May 9, 1994
Anni Albers was a German-American artist who worked primarily in textiles and, late in life, as a printmaker. She is considered the preeminent textile artist of the 20th century.

Albers was born Annelise Else Frieda Fleischmann on June 12, 1899 in Berlin, Germany. Of Jewish descent, her mother was from an aristocratic family in the publishing industry and her father was a furnituremaker. Her interest in art and the visual world was seeded in her childhood and she began painting early on. While studying under an Impressionist from 1916 to 1919, she received harsh criticism from the artist Oskar Kokoschka who viewed her work and bluntly asked, why do you paint?

Shortly thereafter, she left the comfort of her affluent lifestyle to attend art school, an environment that contrasted sharply with that of her upper class upbringing. In 1920, she attended the Kunstgewerbeschule in Hamburg for only two months but eventually arrived at the Bauhaus at Weimar in April of 1922.

In her first year, she studied under Georg Muche and Johannes Itten. However, at the time, women were barred from pursuing certain disciplines at the school, particularly architecture. When she was not admitted to a glass workshop with her future husband Josef Albers, she reluctantly switched tracks to weaving. Under the instruction of Gunta Stölzl, Albers came to love the challenges unique to weaving's tactile construction.

Anni and Josef Albers married in 1925. By that time, Josef had become a "Junior Master" at the Bauhaus. When the school moved to Dessau that year and refocused on production over craft, Albers began to develop a number of functionally unique textiles. She combined the properties of sound absorption, light reflection, durability, and devised ways to minized wrinkling and warping.

When Gropius left Dessau in 1928, the Albers moved into the teaching quarters next to Paul Klees and the Kandinskys. The couple began traveling extensively during this period, taking trips through Italy, Spain, and the Canaries.

Under pressure from the Nazi party, the Bauhaus at Dessau was closed in 1932. After a temporary move to Berlin, it closed permanently in August 1933. Philip Johnson invited Anni and Josef to teach at North Carolina's experimental Black Mountain College. The pair would be instructors at Black Mountain until 1949. Soon after moving to the U.S., Anni Alber's weavings were shown through the country. During this time, she also published numerous articles on textiles and design with this work culminating in a 1949 show at the Museum of Modern Art. A show for a textile artist was the first of its kind at MoMA. Extremely popular, the show toured the U.S. from 1951 until 1953, establishing Albers as the most well-known weaver of the time. The Alberses continued to travel, making several trips to Mexico and South America where they developed an interest in collecting pre-Columbian artwork. In 1949, Josef Albers became the chair of Yale's design department. He and Anni moved to Connecticut and for the first time she began working from her home. Throughout the 1950s, Anni Albers worked on creating mass-producible fabric patterns, producing the majority of her pictorial weavings, and publishing articles and On Designing, a collection of her writings. In 1963, Albers was introduced to printmaking through a Tamarind Lithography Workshop while accompanying her husband on a lecture circuit to Los Angeles. Albers was immediately taken by the technique and soon refocused her creative efforts on lithography and printmaking.

Condition: Good

About Anni Albers

Printmaker and textile artist Anni Albers is widely recognized both for her geometric patterned compositions and deep involvement with the Bauhaus and Black Mountain College, teaching at the latter between 1933 and 1949. Albers arrived at the Bauhaus in Weimar, Germany in 1922, but was limited in the coursework she could pursue as certain disciplines were not taught to women. Although she began weaving almost by default, Albers became among the 20th century’s defining “pictorial” textile artists. At the Bauhaus she studied under painters Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky, focusing on relationships between colors and the expressive potential of simple forms. She then married leading Bauhaus figure and renowned color theorist Josef Albers in 1925. In addition to frequent conversations with her many friends and colleagues, Albers drew inspiration from the pre-Columbian art she viewed during travels throughout Mexico and the Americas.

German-American, 1899-1994, Berlin, Germany

Solo Shows

Musé des Beaux Arts, 
Le Locle, Switzerland,
L'Oeuvre Gravé
Yale University Art Gallery, 
New Haven, CT, United States,
Small-Great Objects: Anni and Josef Albers in the Americas
Wellesley College, Davis Museum and Cultural Centre, 
Wellesley, MA, United States,
Anni Albers: Connections
View Artist's CV