“A longing for excitement can be satisfied without external means within oneself: For creating is the most intense excitement one can come to know.” – Anni Albers
Anni Albers was a multi-disciplinary artist best remembered for her work in textile design. She trained at the Bauhaus school in Germany, where she met her future husband and fellow artist, Josef Albers. At the Bauhaus, she experimented with traditional and innovative materials for weaving, making use of traditional yarns, horsehair, metallic threads, and cellophane. While traditional weavers may have focused on decorative motifs or floral patterns, Anni’s designs could be abstract or organic, and sometimes vividly geometric. She earned her diploma in 1929 with an auditorium wall covering made from cotton, chenille, and cellophane that both reflected light and absorbed sound—a piece that architect Philip Johnson called her “passport to America”.
When the Nazis closed the Bauhaus, the Alberses immigrated to America, teaching at the experimental Black Mountain College for over 16 years. As an assistant professor of art, she continued her experiments with textiles, but also with embossed papers and, many years later, printmaking. Albers developed a weaving curriculum based on the ideas of industrial design, placing importance on both hand-woven and industrial textiles. According to Buckminster Fuller, architect and Black Mountain College alumni, Anni “more than any other weaver, has succeeded in exciting mass realization of the complex structure of fabrics.”
In 1949, Anni Albers became the first weaver to have a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. At the time of her death in 1994, she was the last living instructor of the original Bauhaus school.