Anni Albers

Anni Albers was a wonderful textiles artist from Germany.  She also painted, printed and designed jewellery, but she was definitely best known for her awesome geometric weavings.

Study for Camino Real, 1967 Gouache on Paper 

 Open Letter, 1958, Cotton

Albers was born in Berlin in 1899. Her mother was from an aristocratic publishing family and her father was a furnituremaker. As a child she was very intrigued by art. She painted during her youth, but was very discouraged from continuing after a meeting with artist Oskar Kokoschka, who upon seeing a portrait of hers, asked her sharply “Why do you paint?”

 Study for Triadic II, 1969, Gouache on Blueprint Paper

She eventually decided to attend art school, even though the challenges for art students were often great and the living conditions harsh. Such a lifestyle sharply contrasted the affluent and comfortable living she had been used to. Albers attended the Kunstgewerbeschule in Hamburg then eventually made her way to the Bauhaus at Weimar in April 1922.

 Quilt – unknown

At the Bauhaus she began her first year under Georg Muche and then Johannes Itten. Women were banned from certain disciplines taught at the school, especially architecture, and during her second year, unable to get into a glass workshop with future husband Josef Albers, Anni Albers deferred reluctantly to the only department open to her – textiles. It wasn’t long before Albers learned to love weaving’s tactile construction challenges thanks to her instructor Gunta Stölzl and she went on to become one of the century’s most influential textiles artists.

 C, 1969, Screenprint

 DR XVI (B), 1974, Ink on Paper

Anni Albers only passed away about 20 years ago, in 1994.  Leaving behind an amazing body of work. Her husband is also one of my favorite artists but we’ll talk about Josef another time!

Together in 1971 they established the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation— a not-for-profit organization to further “the revelation and evocation of vision through art.”  Devoted to preserving and promoting the enduring achievements of both Josef and Anni Albers, and the aesthetic and philosophical principles by which they lived. It serves as a unique center for the understanding and appreciation of the arts and of all visual experience.

 Second Movement IV, 1972, Etching/Aquatint.

The Foundation carries out its mission by working on exhibitions and publications, assisting with research; and supporting education. It conserves the Alberses’ art and archives, and serves as an information resource for artists, scholars, students, and the general public.

The Albers Foundation is located on beautiful woodland acreage in Bethany, Connecticut. The Bethany campus includes a central research and archival storage center to accommodate the Foundation’s art collections, library and archives, and offices, as well as residence studios for visiting artists. The rural property provides a venue for educational outreach programs.  Unfortunately artists residencies are offered by invitation only.

All images from the Albers foundations website.


  1. leslie

    Interesting article. My mother was similarly forbidden to study chemistry, and so forced into home ec (with a chemistry emphasis). That photo of Anni is so vibrant!

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