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Basic Data

Josef Albers was a German painter, photographer, designer and art theorist. While in his Bauhaus years Albers devoted himself primarily to the design of furniture and everyday objects as well as to glass painting, he began to paint after his emigration to the USA. He is best known for his abstract square paintings, in which he explores the effects of color. Today, along with Victor Vasarely, he is considered an important weaver of Op art and Color Field Painting.

  • Born: 19 March 1888
  • Place of birth: Bottrop
  • Died on: 25 March 1976
  • Nationality: German/ American
  • Studied at: Berliner Akademie, Kunstgewerbeschule Essen, Münchener Akademie, Bauhaus Weimar
  • Teachers: Thorn-Prikker, F. v. Stuck
  • Similar Artists: Victor Vasarely
  • Era: Postmodernism, contemporary art
  • Stylistic direction: Op art, Minimalism

Josef Albers Prices

Artist: Title: Price: Type: Size: Edition: Handsigned: Numbered: Date:
Josef Albers Ives-Sillman Vice Versa II 3.800 Euro Original print 31.5  x 18.5 in  limited edition of 100 yes yes 10.07.2019
Josef Albers Tuscany 4.900 Euro Original print 16.9  x 16.9 in limited edition of 200 yes yes 01.04.2020



Josef Albers was born on 19 March 1888 in Bottrop. He first began training as an elementary school teacher in 1905. He practised this profession for several years until he became a student in the class of Franz Stuck at the Royal Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts in Munich between 1919 and 1920. He then continued his studies at the Bauhaus in Weimar, where he attended preliminary courses with Johannes Itten and worked in the glass painting workshop. The director of the Bauhaus, Walter Gropius, appointed him to the college of the school in 1923. In 1925, he not only married his wife Anni Albers, he was also appointed Young Master. Until the dissolution of the Bauhaus, he was head of the preliminary course and teacher of drawing and writing. During this time, he developed a trend-setting art pedagogy.

Under pressure from the National Socialist regime, Albers emigrated to the USA with his wife Anni after the closure of the Bauhaus. Here he taught at Black Mountain College in North Carolina. Robert Rauschenberg and Cy Twombly were among his students. In 1963, his publication "Interaction of Color" appeared, which is still considered one of the most influential writings in modern art education.

In the 1950s, he headed the design department at Yale University. Here Donald Judd and Richard Serra were among his students. In 1971, the Metropolitan Museum of Art honoured him as the first living artist with a major retrospective. In the same year, he and his wife founded the non-profit organisation "The Josef & Anni Albers Foundation" to promote art.

The artist died in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1976 at the age of 88. Shortly afterwards, the Josef Albers Museum opened in his hometown of Bottrop. His widow Anni Albers gave the museum many works from the artist's estate.

Among Albers' most important works today are the designs for furniture and everyday objects created during his Bauhaus period and his glass paintings. His move to the USA marked the beginning of a new phase in the artist's work. He was now concerned with the effects of colours, forms, surfaces and lines. Surfaces and lines. He is best known for his series "Homage to the Square", which consists of several differently coloured and interlocked squares. In this work, the artist was concerned with the interaction of colours, which can constantly change their effect through mere juxtaposition.



  • 05.03.22 - 14.05.22 Josef Albers. Interplay of Color – Ludorff, Düsseldorf.
  • 22.01.22 - 05.05.22 Josef Albers: Primary Colors – David Zwirner, Hong Kong.
  • 16.09.21 - 09.01.22 max bill global - Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern.
  • 10.09.21 - 09.01.22 Anni and Josef Albers. L'art et la vie - Musée d´Art Moderne de Paris (MAM), Paris.
  • 03.07.20 - 11.10.20 Schall und Rauch. Die wilden Zwanziger - Kunsthaus Zürich.
  • 27.06.20 - 22.08.20 ACCROCHAGE - Galerie Boisserée, Cologne.
  • 10.11.19 - 23.03.20 Folklore & Avant-garde - Kunstmuseen Krefeld.
  • 06.11.19 - 11.01.20 The Whole World a Bauhaus – ZKM Karlsruhe.
  • 23.10.19 - 27.01.20 Meeting Points – Centre Pompidou, Paris.
  • 22.09.19 - 12.01.20 Der junge Josef Albers. Aufbruch in die Moderne - Josef Albers Museum, Bottrop.
  • 11.06.19 - 13.10.19 Bauhaus Beginnings – The Getty, Los Angeles.
  • 07.06.2019 - 26.04.2020 Von Albers bis Zukunft - Auf den Spuren des Bauhauses - Kaiser Wilhelm Museum, Krefeld.
  • 07.06.2019 - 26.04.2020 Von Albers bis Zukunft - Auf den Spuren des Bauhauses - Kaiser Wilhelm Museum, Krefeld.
  • 25.05.2019 - 26.10.2019 Vertigo. Op Art und eine Geschichte des Schwindels 1520–1970 - MUMOK, Vienna.
  • 08.02.2019 - 28.07.2019 The Bauhaus and Harvard - Harvard Art Museums — Fogg, Busch-Reisinger, Arthur M. Sackler, Carpenter, Cambridge.
  • 09.02.2019 - 28.04.2019 Josef Albers / Donald Judd. Thematic Variations - Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery.
  • 27.07.2018 - 04.11.2018 Josef and Anni Albers - Voyage inside a blind experience - The Glucksman, Cork.
  • 16.06.2018 - 08.10.2018 Josef Albers. Interaction - Villa Hügel, Essen.
  • 19.05.2018 - 03.09.2018 Josef Albers in Mexico - Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice.
  • 03.11.2017 - 18.02.2018 Josef Albers in Mexico - Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.
  • 04.6. 2017 - 04.02.2018 Artists of Color - MOCA The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
  • 21.10.2016 - 27.05.2017 An Imagined Museum. Works from the Centre Pompidou, Tate and MMK collections - Centre Pompidou-Metz.



  • 1958: Cross of Merit First Class of the Federal Republic of Germany.
  • 1964: Medal of the Year des American Institute of Graphic Art, New York.
  • 1967: Award for Painting des Carnegie Institute.
  • 1968: Elected member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters, New York.
  • 1968: Gran Premio "Presidente Frei" der 3. Bienal Americana de Grabadom Santiago de Chile.
  • 1968: Grand Prize for Painting of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.
  • 1970: Honorary citizen Bottrop.
  • 1973: Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
  • 1974: Extraordinary member of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin.
  • 1975: Medal of Fine Arts des American Institute of Architects in New York.



  • Josef and Anni Albers: Art is Everywhere, documentation by Sedat Pakay, 57 min, USA 2006.
  • Josef Albers: Optische Monographie, film by Dietrich Mahlow, 40 min, Germany 1969.
  • Josef Albers teaching at Yale, silent film by John Cohen, 11 min, USA ca. 1955.



  • Josef Albers. Life and Work, Charles Darwent, London 2018.
  • Josef Albers. "So ist Kunst ... Erlebnis", Martina Sauer, Wiesbaden 2018.
  • Josef Albers. Interaction, exhibition catalog, Heinz Liesbrock und Ulrike Growe (Publ.), Cologne 2018.
  • Josef Albers: no tricks, no twinkling of the eyes, exhibition catalog, Tone Hansen and Milena Hoegsberg (Publ.), Cologne 2014.
  • Josef Albers: Learning to see. Josef Albers as a Teacher, from Bauhaus to Yale, exhibition catalog, with texts by Giovanni Iovane, Elisa Nocentini, Gregorio Battistoni, Brenda Danilowitz, Samuele Boncompagni, Roberta Panichi, Bivange 2013.
  • Malerei auf Papier. Josef Albers in Amerika,  Hans Liesbrock (Publ.) Ostfildern 2010.
  • Nur der Schein trügt nicht. Das Sehen als interaktiver Prozess, Silke von Berswordt-Wallrabe (Publ.), Bielefeld 2008.
  • Anni und Josef Albers. Begegnung mit Lateinamerika, Brenda Danilowitz, Heinz Liesbrock (Publ.), Ostfildern 2007.


Own Writings

  • POEMS AND DRAWINGS, Josef Albers, New Haven 2006.
  • Formulation: Articulation, Josef Albers, New York 1972.
  • Interaction of Color – Grundlegung einer Didaktik des Sehens, Josef Albers,  New Haven 1963.