German-American textile Artist and Printmaker
Born: June 12, 1899 - Berlin, Germany
Died: May 9, 1994 - Orange, CT, USA
"Being creative is not so much the desire to do something as the listening to that which wants to be done: the dictation of materials."
Born Annelise Fleischmann, Anni Albers rebelled against her comfortable upbringing to study at the Bauhaus during its most impoverished years. After finishing the foundations coursework, her choices for further study (as a female student) were limited and she began working in the weaving workshop. She quickly embraced the technical and aesthetic challenges of weaving, however, and would revolutionize both aspects of the medium with her experimentation and modern design. She also understood that the Bauhaus needed to create designs that could be industrially manufactured and while she remained committed to the handloom, she also thought of her products as prototypes for mechanical production.
Marrying Bauhaus master instructor Josef Albers in 1925, the pair was central to Bauhaus teaching and artistic production, especially after Anni became the head of the weaving workshop in 1931. When mounting pressure from the Nazi party threatened the Bauhaus, the Alberses were hired at Black Mountain College. While her husband taught a range of art classes, Anni led the weaving and textile design program until 1949, when they moved to Connecticut. There, she continued designing fabrics for mass-production, creating more artistic handloom work, and exhibiting her work to high acclaim. She also began experimenting with printmaking in 1963, after a trip to the Tamarind Lithography Workshop in Los Angeles. Until her death, she experimented with various printing techniques and continued her pursuit of innovative textile design.
Most Important Art
Anni Albers Artworks in Focus:
Untitled wall hanging (1926)
Decorative wall hangings of this sort comprised some of the Bauhaus weaving workshop's most successful products, along with shawls and blankets, yet this was also a space for Albers to experiment and innovate. Unlike her colleagues, she adopted a palette of neutral threads and focused her attention on complicated weaving techniques and modern geometric design. This reflects, in part, her intention to create designs that could eventually become models for industrial mass production. This pattern is based on repeating and interlocking forms of stripes and blocks, created with a triple-weave technique.Read More ...
In 1924, Albers published an essay, "Bauhaus Weaving" that described both a history of weaving and spoke to its future potential. Noting that very little had changed structurally from the "ancient craft" of textile weaving, she stressed that modern equipment had not revolutionized the basic grid structure of woven cloth. She also laments that current mass production has lost contact with the materiality of weaving and that the divide between designers and weavers has led to poorly designed and poorly crafted products. The Bauhaus weaving workshop, with its synthesis of design and craft emerges as the solution to this industrial stalemate. While she celebrates the handloom (which she would continue to use in her own work), she ends the essay with a vision for modern textile production, based on the designs and materials developed through craft-based experimentation. This particular wall hanging was one of the first to include new synthetic fibers, including artificial silk, which would later become standard materials for mass-produced textiles.
In the sketches for her wall hangings, Albers reveals this combination of weaving technique and modernist design. Her limited use of color was influenced by contemporary theories of color relationships, often reflecting the glass artwork of her future husband Josef Albers.
Anni Albers: Of Interest
Anni Albers Artist Overview Page:
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