Jozef Albers   °1888 1976   (DE)

Albers studied at the Royal Art School (Berlin, 1913-15), The School of Arts and Crafts (Essen, 1916-1919), the Munich Academy (1919-20), and the Bauhaus (1920-23). from 1923-33 he was on the faculty of the Bauhaus. After the Nazis closed the Bauhaus in 1933, Albers moved to the US and taught first at Black Mountain College, one of the centers of the avant-garde movement in the US in arts and literature (1933-49), and then became the head of the design program at Yale. He became an American citizen in 1939.
Albers had done lithographs and woodcuts in Germany, but when he came to America, his focus shifted to painting, devoting most of his career from 1949 on to a long series of paintings called Homage to the Square. In the totally abstract works, a series of squares of different sizes is employed to study the effects of colors to react to neighboring colors by seeming to grow, contract, move toward or away from the viewer. In these works, he strove to achieve a totally flat surface and worked in families of related colors. His 1963 treatise, Interaction of Colors (Yale University Press, 1963) is a classic and his writing, teaching, and example had a major impact on op and geometrical art (Richard Anuszkiewicz, the leading American op artist, was his student at Yale; other students include William Bailey, Herbert Beerman, Robert Birmelin, Kent Bloomer, Varujan Boghosian, John Day, Robert Engman, Audrey Flack, Erwin Hauer, Melvin Leipzig, Richard Lytle, Beth Moffitt, Joseph Raffael, William Reimann, Stephanie Scuris, Robert Slutzky, Julian Stanczak, Lois Swirnoff and Neil Welliver).