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Anni Albers

(1899—1994)


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(1899–1994)

Textile designer and weaver Anni Albers (née Fleischmann) was born in Berlin, studying at the School of Applied Art, Hamburg, from 1919 to 1920. From 1922 to 1925 she studied in the Weaving Workshop at the Weimar Bauhaus. In 1925, the year in which the Bauhaus moved to its new buildings in Dessau, she married Josef Albers, a leading tutor at the school. She wove fabrics and wall hangings for the new buildings and, in 1929, made the transition from student to assistant in the Weaving Workshops. She moved to Berlin in 1932 when the Dessau Bauhaus was closed down as a result of its Socialist leanings. However, in the following year the Berlin Bauhaus was also closed down and the Albers found it necessary to leave Germany because Anni was Jewish and they were associated with a ‘Bolshevik’ cultural institution. Philip Johnson, the American architect and curator, helped them to leave with the offer of teaching posts at the new and progressive Black Mountain College in North Carolina in the United States. Josef was appointed Professor of Painting and Anni Assistant Professor of Art, posts they held until 1949 when Anni became the first weaver to have a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Whilst teaching at Black Mountain Anni had worked on industrial prototypes for textiles and, from 1950, when she and her husband moved to New Connecticut, she began work as a freelance, designing textiles for Knoll International. She became increasingly interested in printmaking and, from 1970, when she gave up weaving completely, she worked with graphics and design for printed textiles. She also wrote a number of books including On Designing (1959) and On Weaving (1965), receiving for the latter a Decorative Arts Book Award citation. In addition to a number of honorary doctorates she was also awarded the Gold Medal of the American Crafts Council for ‘uncompromising excellence.’

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.


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