American, born Germany, 1899 - 1994
Born Annelise Fleischmann in Berlin, Germany, Anni Albers began her career as a weaver. At age twenty-three, she entered the Bauhaus, where she studied weaving and later taught. She met and married the painter Josef Albers there, and when Hitler closed the school in 1933, she immigrated to America with Albers. They joined the faculty of Black Mountain College in North Carolina, where Anni Albers introduced new ideas about weaving as a fine art and also as an element in the field of industrial design. She had enjoyed doing experimental work at the Bauhaus and continued to explore new methods and materials throughout her career. Anni Albers' work was displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in 1949, and this exhibition did much to establish weaving as an art form.
During the 1960s, she shifted her focus to printmaking. She and her husband spent one summer at the Tamarind Lithography Workshop in Los Angeles, where Albers discovered a new freedom in printmaking. Her first lithographs were produced in 1964, and she went on to explore other printmaking techniques such as silkscreen. Like her weaving designs, Albers' prints are clear, balanced arrangements of geometric form; some feature atmospheric surfaces traversed by a meandering threadlike line. Her prints, more widely and easily exhibited than her textiles, brought her great fame. In addition to her work as an influential teacher and artist, Albers published several important books on weaving and design. Anni Albers died on 9 May 1994.
[This is an excerpt from the interactive companion program to the videodisc American Art from the National Gallery of Art. Produced by the Department of Education Resources, this teaching resource is one of the Gallery's free-loan educational programs.]