Saturday, August 25, 2012

Anni Albers

German-American textile artist and printmaker, Anni Albers is perhaps the best known textile artist of the 20th century.

Anni Albers came to the Bauhaus as a young student in 1922. Throughout her childhood in Berlin, she had been fascinated by the visual world, and her parents had encouraged her to study drawing and painting. Having been brought up in an affluent household where she was expected simply to continue living the sort of  comfortable social life enjoyed by her mother, she showed great courage in going off to an art school where living conditions were rugged and the challenges immense. She entered the weaving workshop because it was the only one open to her, but soon found her way.
She and Josef, eleven years different in age, met shortly after her arrival in Weimar. They were married in Berlin in 1925 and Annelise Fleischmann became Anni Albers. At the Bauhaus, Anni experimented with new  materials for weaving and executed richly colored designs on paper for wall hangings and textiles in silk, cotton, and linen yarns in which the raw materials and components of structure became the source of beauty. 

In November 1933 Josef and Anni Albers emigrated to the USA where Josef had been asked to make the visual arts the center of the curriculum at the newly established Black Mountain College near Asheville in North Carolina. They remained at Black Mountain until 1949. Josef continued his exploration of a range of printmaking techniques and took off as an abstract painter, while continuing as a captivating teacher and writer. Anni made extraordinary weavings, developed new textiles, and taught, while also writing essays on design that reflected her independent and passionate vision. During this time Josef and Anni Albers traveled widely both in the United States and Mexico, a country that captivated their imagination and had a strong effect on both of their art. In 1950, the Alberses moved to Connecticut. Following the move, Anni Albers continued to weave, design, and write. In 1963 she happily began to explore the new medium of printmaking  and produced a group of lithographs and screenprints of great spatial and textural complexity.

Her seminal text on weaving was published in 1965. Like Josef, she focused above all on her work happy to pursue it at a remove from the trends and shifting fashions of the art world. In 1984, Anni wrote, "... to comprehend art is to confide in a constant."

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