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Artists Josef Albers
Josef Albers Photo

Josef Albers

American Painter, Poet, Sculptor, Teacher, and Theoretician

Movements and Styles: Bauhaus, Geometric Abstraction

Born: March 19 1888 - Bottrop, Germany

Died: March 25 1976 - New Haven, CT, USA

Josef Albers Timeline

Quotes

"Instead of art I have taught philosophy. Though technique for me is a big word, I never have taught how to paint. All my doing was to make people to see."
Josef Albers
"Art is revelation instead of information, expression instead of description, creation instead of imitation or repetition. Art is concerned with the HOW, not the WHAT; not with literal content, but with the performance of the factual content. The performance - how it is done - that is the content of art."
Josef Albers
"Any ground subtracts its own hue from the colors which it carries and therefore influences."
Josef Albers
"In visual perception a color is almost never seen as it really is - as it physically is. This fact makes color the most relative medium in art."
Josef Albers
"Simultaneous contrast is not just a curious optical phenomenon - it is the very heart of painting."
Josef Albers
"Albers was a beautiful teacher and an impossible person ... what he taught had to do with the entire visual world ... I consider Albers the most important teacher I've ever had, and I'm sure he considered me one of his poorest students."
Robert Rauschenberg

“When you really understand that each color is changed by a changed environment, you eventually find that you have learned about life as well as about color."

Josef Albers Signature

Synopsis

Josef Albers was instrumental in bringing the tenets of European modernism, particularly those associated with the Bauhaus, to America. His legacy as a teacher of artists, as well as his extensive theoretical work proposing that color, rather than form, is the primary medium of pictorial language, profoundly influenced the development of modern art in the United States during the 1950s and 1960s.

Key Ideas

Albers's 1963 book Interaction of Color provided the most comprehensive analysis of the function and perception of color to date and profoundly influenced art education and artistic practice, especially Color Field Painting and Minimalism, in the 20th century.
His series Homage to the Square, produced from 1949 until his death, used a single geometric shape to systematically explore the vast range of visual effects that could be achieved through color and spatial relationships alone.
Albers's art and theories were widely disseminated to generations of artists and art-school faculty through his teachings at the Bauhaus, Black Mountain College, and Yale University, and they provided the theoretical basis for the development of non-objective art during and after the age of Abstract Expressionism.

Biography

Josef Albers Photo

Early years

Josef Albers was born March 19, 1888, in Bottrop, Germany. From 1905 to 1908 he studied to become a teacher in Buren, teaching in Westphalian primary schools from 1908 to 1913. After attending the Konigliche Kunstschule in Berlin from 1913 to 1915, he was certified to teach art. Albers studied lithography in Essen and attended the Academy in Munich. In 1920 at the age of 32, Albers entered the Bauhaus, a school in Weimar that was committed to exploring the relationship between the arts and technological society and emphasized the integration of architecture, fine art, and craft.

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Josef Albers Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Josef Albers
Interactive chart with Josef Albers's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Piet MondrianPiet Mondrian
Ludwig Mies van der RoheLudwig Mies van der Rohe
Wassily KandinskyWassily Kandinsky
Kazimir MalevichKazimir Malevich
Johannes IttenJohannes Itten

Personal Contacts

Walter GropiusWalter Gropius
Anni AlbersAnni Albers
Paul KleePaul Klee

Movements

SuprematismSuprematism
FuturismFuturism
BauhausBauhaus
ConstructivismConstructivism
ExpressionismExpressionism

Influences on Artist
Josef Albers
Josef Albers
Years Worked: 1915 - 1976
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Robert RauschenbergRobert Rauschenberg
Cy TwomblyCy Twombly
Richard AnuszkiewiczRichard Anuszkiewicz
Eva HesseEva Hesse
John ChamberlainJohn Chamberlain

Personal Contacts

Anni AlbersAnni Albers
Willem de KooningWillem de Kooning
Elaine de KooningElaine de Kooning

Movements

Pop ArtPop Art
Color Field PaintingColor Field Painting
Geometric AbstractionGeometric Abstraction

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