Josef Albers

(1888 - 1976)
Josef Albers Homage to the Square: R-NW IV 1966 © The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn and DACS, London 2017.


Albers was born in Germany and taught at the Bauhaus art school, alongside Paul Klee, László Moholy-Nagy, Wassily Kandinsky and others. He emigrated to the USA in 1933, after the Nazis closed the Bauhaus. In America Albers taught at the influential Black Mountain College until 1949 and later became the head of the design department at Yale University. Both Albers's art and teaching focused on the properties of colour, explored through strictly geometric, abstract compositions. His theoretical writings on the role of colour in painting - how it advances or recedes, how one affects another - have been highly influential.

Glossary terms

  • An influential German school of art and design founded in Dessau in 1919 under the architect Walter Gropius. It was based on workshop training rather than academic studios, and is celebrated for its functional design. The school moved to Dessau in 1926, housed in a famous building designed by Gropius. It later moved to Berlin before closing in 1933 due to pressure from the Nazis.