Josef Albers (Germany, 1888-1976)

The German-born American painter, writer, and educator Josef Albers (1888-1976) was a pioneer of 20th century modernism, and an innovative practitioner of color theory. With his wife, the textile artist and printmaker Anni Albers (1899–1994), he shaped the development of a generation of American artists and designers through his teaching at the experimental Black Mountain College in North Carolina, and later at Yale University School of Art, where he was the chairman of the Department of Design from 1950-1958. He is widely known for his series of prints and paintings Homages to the Square, which he created between 1950 and 1975. His influential volume on color theory Interaction of Color was published in 1963.


Albers was born in Bottrop, Germany, and as a young man he studied art education, earning certification from the Königliche Kunstschule in Berlin in 1915. He entered the legendary Bauhaus school in Weimar in 1920. The Bauhaus had been established by Walter Gropius in 1919, in the immediate aftermath of World War I, with the hope that its innovative curriculum would foster connections between architecture, art, and traditional crafts. In 1923 Albers began teaching the Vorkurs, the introductory class in which new students learned to work with each of the key artists’ materials, along with color theory, composition, construction, and design. Albers was a polymath, and the multidisciplinary environment of the Bauhaus was fertile ground for his artistic ambitions. When the school moved from Weimar to Dessau in 1925, he became a full professor, and in addition to glass and metal, he designed typefaces and furniture. While at the Bauhaus, Albers drew inspiration from the work of his colleagues, the color theorist Johannes Itten, and the painter, photographer, and designer László Moholy-Nagy, with whom he co-taught the Vorkurs.


In 1933, the Bauhaus was shut down due to pressure from the Nazi Party, which perceived the school as being sympathetic to communist intellectuals. As Albers’ wife Anni was Jewish, the couple resolved to leave Germany, and settled in rural North Carolina. The architect Philip Johnson helped make arrangements for Albers to join the faculty of Black Mountain College as the head of the painting program, where he remained until 1949. While at Black Mountain, both Josef and Anni Albers became influential mentors to American artists including Ruth Asawa, Cy Twombly, and Robert Rauschenberg, while working alongside fellow professors Buckminster Fuller, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, and William de Kooning.


In 1950, joined the faculty of the Yale University School of Art where he would head the newly established Department of Design until his retirement in 1958. In the 1950s, the Alberses began taking trips to Mexico, where the colors and forms of the local art and architecture inspired both artists. In 1971, Albers became the first living artist whose work was the subject of a solo retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Though they worked in different mediums, Josef and Anni Albers’ work shares a fascination with color and geometry. Josef Albers’ compositions from the Homages to the Square series, such as Formulation: Articulation Portfolio II Folder 28 (B), from 1972 give deceptively simple shapes a novel vibrance as colors play off of one another. The hues in Articulation Portfolio II Folder 28 (B) work in concert to give the flat surface the distinct appearance of a tunnel or other 3-dimensional space; while the form on the left appears to move towards the viewer, the form on the right seems to lead directly into the canvas. Similarly, Anni Albers’ designs for textiles use graphic design to lend a sense of dynamism to flat works. Her Study for Unexecuted Wall Hanging (Bauhaus), from 1984 is a Mondrian-like pattern for a weaving in which different colors alternately recede and advance into the foreground, giving the image a sense of complexity and uncanny depth.


Josef Albers also created works of public art, including a delicate, geometric gold leaf mural called Two Structural Constellations for the lobby of the Corning Glass building in New York City in 1959. He designed a work called Two Portals for the lobby of the Time & Life Building in 1961, in which which and brown bands move towards two square panels made of bronze. Walter Gropius invited Albers to create a piece for the Pan Am Building, which he was designing with the architectural firm of Emery Roth & Sons. Albers reworked an existing glass piece from his Bauhaus days called City, and, fittingly, renamed it Manhattan.

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Formulation : Articulation, Portfolio II Folder 22 (A)
Formulation : Articulation, Portfolio II Folder 22...
Josef Albers
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Screen Print
Multiple shades of brown create this silkscreen by Josef Albers from, "Articulation : Formulation," published by Harry N. Abrams, 1972, and printed by Ives - Stillman. The individual im...
Formulation : Articulation, Portfolio I Folder 26
Formulation : Articulation, Portfolio I Folder 26
Josef Albers
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Screen Print
A monochromatic silkscreen in purples and white by Josef Albers from, "Articulation : Formulation," published by Harry N. Abrams, 1972, and printed by Ives - Stillman. The individual im...
Formulation : Articulation, Portfolio II Folder 16 (A)
Formulation : Articulation, Portfolio II Folder 16...
Josef Albers
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Screen Print
A black, white, and grey silkscreen by Josef Albers from, "Articulation : Formulation," published by Harry N. Abrams, 1972, and printed by Ives - Stillman. The individual images are uns...
Formulation : Articulation, Portfolio I Folder 33

Josef Albers

Formulation : Articulation, Portfolio I Folder 33
Josef Albers
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Screen Print
Silkscreen by Josef Albers from his classic work, Formulation : Articulation, published by Harry N. Abrams, 1972, and printed by Ives - Sillman. The individual images are unsigned. Albe...
Formulation : Articulation, Portfolio II Folder 20 (B)
Formulation : Articulation, Portfolio II Folder 20...
Josef Albers
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Screen Print
A black, white, and grey silkscreen by Josef Albers from, "Articulation : Formulation," published by Harry N. Abrams, 1972, and printed by Ives - Stillman. The individual images are uns...
Formulation : Articulation, Portfolio I Folder 16 (A)
Formulation : Articulation, Portfolio I Folder 16 ...
Josef Albers
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Screen Print
A black, white, and grey silkscreen by Josef Albers from, "Articulation : Formulation," published by Harry N. Abrams, 1972, and printed by Ives - Stillman. The individual images are uns...
Formulation : Articulation Portfolio I Folder 25 (A)
Formulation : Articulation Portfolio I Folder 25 (...
Josef Albers
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Screen Print
A black, white, and grey silkscreen by Josef Albers from, "Articulation : Formulation," published by Harry N. Abrams, 1972, and printed by Ives - Stillman. The individual images are uns...
Articulation : Formulation, Portfolio I Folder 8

Josef Albers

Articulation : Formulation, Portfolio I Folder 8
Josef Albers
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Screen Print
Silkscreen by Josef Albers from his classic work, Formulation : Articulation, published by Harry N. Abrams, 1972, and printed by Ives - Sillman. The individual images are unsigned. ...
Formulation : Articulation, Portfolio I Folder 5 (A)

Josef Albers

Formulation : Articulation, Portfolio I Folder 5 (...
Josef Albers
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Lithograph
Silkscreen by Josef Albers from his classic work, "Articulation : Formulation," published by Harry N. Abrams, 1972, and printed by Ives - Sillman. The individual images are unsigned. Al...
Formulation : Articulation, Portfolio I Folder 5 (B)

Josef Albers

Formulation : Articulation, Portfolio I Folder 5 (...
Josef Albers
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Lithograph
Silkscreen by Josef Albers from his classic work, "Articulation : Formulation," published by Harry N. Abrams, 1972, and printed by Ives - Sillman. The individual images are unsigned. Al...
Formulation: Articulation, Portfolio I, Folder 20

Josef Albers

Formulation: Articulation, Portfolio I, Folder 20
Josef Albers
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Lithograph
Silkscreen by Josef Albers from his classic work, "Articulation : Formulation," published by Harry N. Abrams, 1972, and printed by Ives - Sillman. The individual images are unsigned. Al...
Formulation : Articulation Portfolio II Folder 33 (A)

Josef Albers

Formulation : Articulation Portfolio II Folder 33 ...
Josef Albers
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Screen Print
Silkscreen by Josef Albers from his classic work, "Articulation : Formulation," published by Harry N. Abrams, 1972, and printed by Ives - Stillman. The individual images are unsigned. A...
Formulation : Articulation Portfolio I, Folder 32 (B)

Josef Albers

Formulation : Articulation Portfolio I, Folder 32 ...
Josef Albers
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Lithograph
Silkscreen by Josef Albers from his classic work, Formulation" published by Harry N. Abrams, 1972, and printed by Ives - Sillman. The individual images are unsigned. Albers' signature a...
KG

Josef Albers

KG
Josef Albers
1960s Abstract Geometric Prints and Multiples
Screen Print
Color Screenprint on Mohawk Superfine Bristol paper Signed and numbered Printed by Sirocco Screenprints, New Haven. Published by Ives-Sillman, Inc., New Haven, for Kestner Gesellschaft,...
I-S LXXIIb

Josef Albers

I-S LXXIIb
Josef Albers
1970s Abstract Geometric Prints and Multiples
Screen Print
Color screenprint on German Etching paper Initialed, titled, dated and numbered Printed by Sirocco Screenprints, New Haven. Published by Ives-Sillman, Inc., New Haven. Published to com...
WLS IV - White Line Squares (Series I)
WLS IV - White Line Squares (Series I)
Josef Albers
1960s Abstract Prints
Screen Print
JOSEF ALBERS 1888-1976 1888 Bottrop, Germany - 1976 New Haven, USA (German / American) Title: WLS IV - White Line Squares (Series I), 1966 Technique: Original Hand Signed and Numbered...
Formulation : Articulation Portfolio II Folder 24 (A)

Josef Albers

Formulation : Articulation Portfolio II Folder 24 ...
Josef Albers
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Screen Print
Silkscreen by Josef Albers from his classic work, "Formulation : Articulation," published by Harry N. Abrams, 1972, and printed by Ives - Sillman. The individual images are unsigned. A...
Formulation : Articulation, Portfolio II Folder 24 (B)

Josef Albers

Formulation : Articulation, Portfolio II Folder 24...
Josef Albers
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Screen Print
Silkscreen by Josef Albers from his classic work, "Formulation : Articulation" published by Harry N. Abrams, 1972, and printed by Ives - Stillman. The individual images are unsigned. Al...
Formulation : Articulation Portfolio II Folder 29 (B)

Josef Albers

Formulation : Articulation Portfolio II Folder 29 ...
Josef Albers
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Screen Print
Silkscreen by Josef Albers from his classic work, "Articulation : Formulation," published by Harry N. Abrams, 1972, and printed by Ives - Stillman. The individual images are unsigned. A...
Formulation : Articulation Portfolio II Folder 29 (A)

Josef Albers

Formulation : Articulation Portfolio II Folder 29 ...
Josef Albers
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Screen Print
Silkscreen by Josef Albers from his classic work, "Articulation : Formulation," published by Harry N. Abrams, 1972, and printed by Ives - Stillman. The individual images are unsigned. A...
Articulation : Formulation, Portfolio I Folder 11 (B)

Josef Albers

Articulation : Formulation, Portfolio I Folder 11 ...
Josef Albers
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Screen Print
Silkscreen by Josef Albers from his classic work, "Articulation : Formulation," published by Harry N. Abrams, 1972, and printed by Ives - Stillman. The individual images are unsigne...
Articulation : Formulation, Portfolio I Folder 11 (A)

Josef Albers

Articulation : Formulation, Portfolio I Folder 11 ...
Josef Albers
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Screen Print
Silkscreen by Josef Albers from his classic work, "Articulation : Formulation," published by Harry N. Abrams, 1972, and printed by Ives - Stillman. The individual images are unsigne...
Formulation : Articulation, Portfolio II Folder 16 (B)

Josef Albers

Formulation : Articulation, Portfolio II Folder 16...
Josef Albers
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Screen Print
Silkscreen by Josef Albers from his classic work, "Articulation : Formulation," published by Harry N. Abrams, 1972, and printed by Ives - Stillman. The individual images are unsigned. A...
Formulation : Articulation, Portfolio II Folder 6 (B)

Josef Albers

Formulation : Articulation, Portfolio II Folder 6 ...
Josef Albers
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Screen Print
Silkscreen by Josef Albers from his classic work, "Articulation : Formulation," published by Harry N. Abrams, 1972, and printed by Ives - Stillman. The individual images are unsigned. A...
Formulation : Articulation Portfolio I Folder 25 (B)

Josef Albers

Formulation : Articulation Portfolio I Folder 25 (...
Josef Albers
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Lithograph
Silkscreen by Josef Albers from his classic work, "Formulation : Articulation," published by Harry N. Abrams, 1972, and printed by Ives - Sillman. The individual images are unsigned. Al...
Articulation: Formulation, Portfolio I, Folder 27 (B)

Josef Albers

Articulation: Formulation, Portfolio I, Folder 27 ...
Josef Albers
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Lithograph
Silkscreen by Josef Albers from his classic work, "Articulation : Formulation," published by Harry N. Abrams, 1972, and printed by Ives - Stillman. The individual images are unsigned. A...
Formulation : Articulation, Portfolio I Folder 12 (A)
Formulation : Articulation, Portfolio I Folder 12 ...
Josef Albers
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Screen Print
Silkscreen by Josef Albers from, "Articulation : Formulation," published by Harry N. Abrams, 1972, and printed by Ives - Stillman. Unsigned, Albers' signature appears on the title page ...
Homage to the Square from Formulation: Articulatio...
Josef Albers
1970s Minimalist Abstract Prints
Screen Print
Artist: Josef Albers, German (1888 - 1976) Title: Homage to the Square, Portfolio II, Folio 33, Image 2 from Formulation: Articulation Year: 1972 Edition Size: 1000 Medium: Silkscreen I...
Homage to the Square from Formulation: Articulatio...
Josef Albers
1970s Minimalist Abstract Prints
Screen Print
Artist: Josef Albers, German (1888 - 1976) Title: Homage to the Square, Portfolio 1, Folder 5, Image 1 from Formulation: Articulation Year: 1972 Edition Size: 1000 Medium: Silkscreen I...
Homage to the Square from Formulation: Articulatio...
Josef Albers
1970s Minimalist Abstract Prints
Screen Print
Artist: Josef Albers, German (1888 - 1976) Title: Homage to the Square, Portfolio 2, Folder 13, Image 2 from Formulation: Articulation Year: 1972 Edition Size: 1000 Medium: Silkscreen...
Homage to the Square from Formulation: Articulatio...
Josef Albers
1970s Abstract Geometric Abstract Prints
Screen Print
Artist: Josef Albers, German (1888 - 1976) Title: Portfolio II, Folio 33, Image I from Formulation: Articulation Year: 1972 Medium: Silkscreen Edition Size:1000 Image Size: 12 x 12 inch...
Homage to the Square from Formulation: Articulatio...
Josef Albers
1970s Abstract Geometric Abstract Prints
Screen Print
Artist: Josef Albers, German (1888 - 1976) Title: Portfolio II, Folio 32, Image I from Formulation: Articulation Year: 1972 Medium: Silkscreen Edition Size:1000 Image Size: 12 x 12 inch...
Palatial

Josef Albers

Palatial
Josef Albers
1960s Minimalist Abstract Prints
Screen Print
An original signed screenprint on Rives BFK paper by German-American artist Josef Albers (1888-1976) titled "Palatial", 1965. Comes from the 1965 'Soft Edge - Hard Edge' portfolio. Hand...
Formulation : Articulation, Portfolio II, Folder 14 (B)

Josef Albers

Formulation : Articulation, Portfolio II, Folder 1...
Josef Albers
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Lithograph
Silkscreen by Josef Albers from his classic work, "Articulation : Formulation," published by Harry N. Abrams, 1972, and printed by Ives - Stillman. The individual images are unsigned. A...
Attic

Josef Albers

Attic
Josef Albers
Mid-20th Century Abstract Geometric Abstract Prints
Screen Print
Josef Albers (Bottrop 1888 - 1976 New Haven) Attic (from the portfolio 'Die Oberfläche') United States, 1965 Silkscreen in colors on a double page of Mohawk Superfine Bristol. Dimensi...
SP-X

Josef Albers

SP-X
Josef Albers
1960s Minimalist Abstract Prints
Screen Print
An original signed screenprint on Schollers Hammer Board paper by German-American artist Josef Albers (1888-1976) titled "SP-X", 1967. Comes from the 1967 "SP" portfolio, a suite of 12 ...
»Editions Domberger RI-67«
»Editions Domberger RI-67«
Josef Albers
20th Century Prints and Multiples
Silkscreen on cardboard 1967 65 x 50 cm Signed and dated "A'67" and "55 /70" numbered Catalogue Raisonné Danilowitz 2010 no. 178 Provenance: Private Collection South Germany ...
DR-a

Josef Albers

DR-a
Josef Albers
Mid-20th Century Prints and Multiples
silkscreen on heavy board paper 1968 59.7 x 59.7 cm Signed and dated "A '68", titled and numbered 100 + 25 a.p. Printer: Atelier Arcay, Paris. Publisher: Galerie Denise René, Paris Cata...
DR-b

Josef Albers

DR-b
Josef Albers
Mid-20th Century Prints and Multiples
silkscreen on paper 1968 59.7 x 59.7 cm Signed and dated "A '68" also titled and numbered "46/100" Catalogue raisonné Danilowitz 2010 no. 181 Provenance: Private Collection Germany...
Formulation: Articulation, Folio II / Folder 6 (B)
Formulation: Articulation, Folio II / Folder 6 (B)...
Josef Albers
1970s Minimalist Abstract Prints
Screen Print
An original screenprint on Mohawk Superfine Bristol paper by German-American artist Josef Albers (1888-1976) titled "Formulation: Articulation, Folio II / Folder 6 (B)", 1972. Unsigned ...
Formulation : Articulation, Portfolio II, Folder 13 (A)

Josef Albers

Formulation : Articulation, Portfolio II, Folder 1...
Josef Albers
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Lithograph
Silkscreen by Josef Albers from his classic work, "Articulation : Formulation," published by Harry N. Abrams, 1972, and printed by Ives - Stillman. The individual images are unsigned. A...
Homage to the Square: Whitney Museum of American Art
Homage to the Square: Whitney Museum of American A...
Josef Albers
1970s Minimalist Abstract Prints
Screen Print
An original screenprint exhibition poster after German/American artist Josef Albers (1888-1976) titled "Homage to the Square: Whitney Museum of American Art", 1972. Printed by Pace Edit...
Articulation : Formulation, Portfolio I Folder 15 (A)

Josef Albers

Articulation : Formulation, Portfolio I Folder 15 ...
Josef Albers
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Screen Print
Silkscreen by Josef Albers from his classic work, "Articulation : Formulation," published by Harry N. Abrams, 1972, and printed by Ives - Stillman. The individual images are unsigne...
Formulation : Articulation, Portfolio II, Folder 32 (A)

Josef Albers

Formulation : Articulation, Portfolio II, Folder 3...
Josef Albers
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Lithograph
Silkscreen by Josef Albers from his classic work, "Articulation : Formulation," published by Harry N. Abrams, 1972, and printed by Ives - Stillman. The individual images are unsigned. A...
Formulation : Articulation, Portfolio II,  Folder 19 (A)

Josef Albers

Formulation : Articulation, Portfolio II, Folder ...
Josef Albers
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Lithograph
Silkscreen by Josef Albers from his classic work, "Articulation : Formulation," published by Harry N. Abrams, 1972, and printed by Ives - Stillman. The individual images are unsigned. A...
I-S LXX a

Josef Albers

I-S LXX a
Josef Albers
1970s Minimalist Abstract Prints
Screen Print
An original signed screenprint on German etching paper by German-American artist Josef Albers (1888-1976) titled "I-S LXX a", 1970. Published on the occasion of Alber's eighty-second bi...
Formulation : Articulation Portfolio II Folder 8 (A)

Josef Albers

Formulation : Articulation Portfolio II Folder 8 (...
Josef Albers
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Lithograph
Silkscreen by Josef Albers from his classic work, "Articulation : Formulation," published by Harry N. Abrams, 1972, and printed by Ives - Stillman. The individual images are unsigned. A...
Formulation : Articulation, Portfolio I Folder 9 (B)

Josef Albers

Formulation : Articulation, Portfolio I Folder 9 (...
Josef Albers
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Lithograph
Silkscreen by Josef Albers from his classic work, "Articulation : Formulation," published by Harry N. Abrams, 1972, and printed by Ives - Stillman. The individual images are unsigned. A...
Formulation : Articulation, Portfolio II, Folder 4(A)

Josef Albers

Formulation : Articulation, Portfolio II, Folder 4...
Josef Albers
1970s Contemporary Abstract Prints
Lithograph
Silkscreen by Josef Albers from his classic work, "Articulation : Formulation," published by Harry N. Abrams, 1972, and printed by Ives - Stillman. The individual images are unsigned. A...
Untitled from Formulation: Articulation, Framed Si...
Josef Albers
1970s Op Art Abstract Prints
Screen Print
Artist: Josef Albers, German (1888 - 1976) Title: Portfolio 2, Folder 10, Image 2 from Formulation: Articulation (Double Portfolio) Year: 1972 Medium: Silkscreen Edition: 1000 Paper Siz...
Untitled from Formulation: Articulation, Framed Si...
Josef Albers
1970s Abstract Geometric Abstract Prints
Screen Print
Artist: Josef Albers, German (1888 - 1976) Title: Portfolio 1, Folder 22, Image 1 from Formulation: Articulation (Double Portfolio) Year: 1972 Medium: Silkscreen Edition: 1000 Paper Siz...
Josef Albers "Mitered Squares - Mahogany" Screenpr...
Josef Albers
1970s Abstract Geometric Abstract Prints
Screen Print
Josef Albers (1888-1976) is affiliated with, or an active participant within numerous movements that have defined visual culture in the 20th century. Albers was a student and later a ...
Josef Albers "Mitered Squares - Cold Teal" Screenp...
Josef Albers
1970s Abstract Geometric Abstract Prints
Screen Print
Josef Albers (1888-1976) is affiliated with, or an active participant within numerous movements that have defined visual culture in the 20th century. Albers was a student and later a ...
Variant 9 from Ten Variants

Josef Albers

Variant 9 from Ten Variants
Josef Albers
1960s Abstract Abstract Prints
Lithograph
Screenprint in reds, browns, and black on Rives BFK paper, with full margins, portfolio 212 of edition of 300, published by Ives-Sillman, Inc., New Haven, with their blind stamp in lowe...
Josef Albers at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Josef Albers at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Josef Albers
1970s Minimalist Abstract Prints
Screen Print
An original screenprint exhibition poster by German-American artist Josef Albers (1888-1976) titled "Josef Albers at the Metropolitan Museum of Art", 1971. It was produced in a signed a...
Composition Seven, from: Homage to the Square Hom...
Josef Albers
1960s Abstract Prints
Screen Print
JOSEF ALBERS 1888-1976 1888 Bottrop, Germany - 1976 New Haven, USA (German / American) Title: Composition Seven, from: Homage to the Square Hommage au Carré, 1965 Technique: Original...
Formulation : Articulation, Portfolio I Folder 28 (B)

Josef Albers

Formulation : Articulation, Portfolio I Folder 28 ...
Josef Albers
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Screen Print
Silkscreen by Josef Albers from his classic work, "Articulation : Formulation," published by Harry N. Abrams, 1972, and printed by Ives - Stillman. The individual images are unsigned. A...
FGa

Josef Albers

FGa
Josef Albers
1960s Minimalist Abstract Prints
Screen Print
An original signed three color screenprint on cream Mohawk Superfine Bristol paper by German-American artist Josef Albers (1888-1976) titled "FGa", 1968. Hand monogram signed and dated ...