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Anni Albers

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By Nicholas Fox Weber and

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Pandora Tabatabai Asbaghi *

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With

contributions by Kelly Feeney,

Jean-Paul Leclercq, and Virginia Gardner Troy

Anni Albers (1899-1994) foremost

is

K--

*.

'

considered the

designer of our century. Albers,

textile

one of the

central figures of the

Workshop

at the

effect

-

Weaving

Bauhaus, had an enormous

worldwide on the design of yard materials

i

;

es?:

and on the creation of singular weavings and wall hangings. This catalogue, accompanying a centennial retrospective of her work, brings to light a

wide selection of her weavings, drapery

materials,

and wall coverings

as well as the

••'

^_

preparatory studies and graphic works that

accompanied them. In addition

s'

'

to full-color

reproductions of Albers's most important works, it

also includes

documentation of scores of

her highly influential textile designs. Scholars Virginia Gardner Troy and Jean-Paul Leclerq

explore the significance of her

work

in the -

context of the history of Western and pre-

Columbian

textile design;

'J

Kelly Feeney discusses

her important commission of ark panels for

Temple Emanu-El

in Dallas;

and Albers scholar

Nicholas Fox Weber provides an insightful

memoir of the

artist's

A

the graphic

arts.

chronology

details

and as

career in

exploration late in

comprehensive

Anni

famed painter and

artist

of

H

'

I

Albers's fascinating life

Germany and

an independent

life

illustrated

and

in

America, both

as the wife

of the

instructor Josef Albers.

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Anni Albers


Anni Albers Nicholas Fox Weber

and Pandora Tabatabai Asbaghi

GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM


Published on the occasion of the exhibition

Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice,

Anni Albers,

organized by Nicholas Fox

March 24-May 24, 1999 Museum, Bottrop,

Weber

Josef Albers

and Pandora Tabatabai Asbaghi

June I2-August

Musee

29, 1999

des Arts Decoratifs, Paris,

September 20-December

The Jewish Museum, New February 27-June

Š

Front cover

Drapery material,

ca. 1944.

by Philip Johnson house,

New

Commissioned

1999

The Solomon

New

Foundation,

R.

4,

for Rockefeller guest

York. Plastic, copper

toil,

and

All

works by Anni Albers and Joset Albers

York, Gift of Anni Albers 1970. 75.10a.

by permission.

Back cover

ISBN 0-89207-218-0 (softcover)

Anni Albers

90.5

at

2000

Guggenheim

Š

X

1999

The

Josef and

Anni Albers

Foundation, Bethany, Connecticut. Used

Black Mountain College,

All rights reserved.

ISBN 0-8109-6923-8 (hardcover)

near Asheville, North Carolina, 1947,

Guggenheim Museum

photographed by Nancy Newhall.

1071 Fifth

Publications

Avenue

New York, NewYork

10128

Frontispiece

Josef Albers, Pazcuaro, date

unknown.

Hardcover edition distributed by

Collage of twenty contact prints,

Harry N. Abrams

mounted on cardboard, 25.4 x 20.3 cm (10 X 8 inches). The Josef and Anni Albers

100 Fifth Avenue

New

York,

New

York looii

Foundation, Bethany JAF:PH-553. Design: Nathan Garland

Production: Esther Editor: Jennifer

The

operations and programs of the Peggy

Guggenheim

Yun

Knox- White

Collection are supported by:

INTRAPRES^ COLLEZIONE GUGGENHEIM Aermec

iGuzzini Illuminazione Istituto Poligraficoe

Arclinea

Automotive Products

Zecca dello Stato

Leo Burnett

Italia

Banca Antoniana Popolare Veneta

Lubiam I9n

Barbero 1891

Luciano Marcato

Bisazza

Rex Built-in

DEW AG

Safilo

Gretag Imaging Group

Swatch

Gruppo 3M Italia Gruppo Imation Italia

Wella

Group

Zucchi-Ba.ssetti

Group

Management by Bondardo C'omunicazione

The

trustees of the

Solomon

R.

Ciuggenhcim Foundation gratefully

acknowledge the Regione Veneto operation o( the Peggy

Offi cial carrie

1999

York. All rights reserved

cm (39 x 35 Vs inches). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New cotton, 99

31,

York,

for the

Guggenheim

r/llitalia

annual subsidy that assures the effective

Collection.


9

Introduction

Contents

Nicholas Fox Weber

28

Thread

as Text:

The Woven Work of Anni Virginia Gardner Iroy

64

On

the Structure

of the

Weavings

Jea)i-Pattl Leclercq

94

Constructing Textiles

Anni Albers

118

Anni

Albers:

Devotion

to Material

Kelly Feeney

124

The Last Bauhausler Nicholas Fox Weber

152

Anni Albers 1899-1994 Pandora I'abatahai Asbaghi

Albcrs


The Solomon

Preface

Guggenheim Foundation

R.

Thomas Krens

which

Director,

Foundation

is

Guggenheim

to present the

and

in Europe,

story

first

do

to

and her

art,

often overshadowed by that of her husband, Josef belong firmly

in the fabric R.

proud

shown

Her Httle-known

so in the centenary year of her birth.

The Solomon

is

retrospective of the art of Anni Albers to be

weavings.

of twentieth-century Modernism,

It is

a

remarkably pure but

by some of the dramatic events that took place

two world wars and her emigration

one of her

like a thread in

and humane

lively

touched

story,

Germany between

in

to a strange land, the

This exhibition has been made possible above

United

all

the

States.

by the Josef and

Anni Albers Foundation and by its indefatigable director, Nicholas Fox Weber, who, with Pandora Tabatabai Asbaghi, organized this exhibition. While thanking them personally for their leadership of the project, I also want to acknowledge how full a partnership with the Albers Foundation this exhibition has been.

loans from

its

expertise of

its

The

collections

excellent staff This

Guggenheim Foundation Foundation.

Albers Foundation has generously

Our

not the

is

time that the

first

has had the pleasure of working with the Albers

previous collaborations include two highly successful and

distinguished exhibitions of the

which originated

made

and has contributed the time and unmatchable

in 1988 at the

work of Josef Albers, a full retrospective, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in

New York, as well as a show devoted to his works in glass, which was shown at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice in 1994 and at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York in 1995. Furthermore, we owe the presence of important paintings and photographs by Josef Albers Guggenheim's collections to the extraordinary generosity of the

in the

Albers Foundation.

My particular gratitude goes the Metropolitan

Museum

many important

of which have made

to

two

of Art and the

New

York

Museum

of

institutions,

Modern

professional staffs was vital to the success of this presentation.

who

other lenders to the exhibition, this catalogue,

After

Albers Paris,

I

it

Museum

my

wish to express

in Bottrop,

most sincere thanks.

Germany, the Musee des Arts Decoratifs

and the Jewish Museum to be

New York.

in

Kleeblatt and his colleague Susan

as

is

has been the Peggy

all

those

who

at

in

Norman

those institutions.

Guggenheim Collection

are

generously provide annual funds

gratefully noted elsewhere. For

Guggenheim

in

an honor for the

Marie-Claude Beaud, and

Chevlowe

Exhibitions presented at the Peggy inconceivable without

It is

working with these museums, and

particular with Ulrich Schumacher,

its activities,

To the many

are listed individually elsewhere in

closes in Venice, the exhibition will travel to the Josef

Guggenheim Foundation

for

Art, both

loans; the cooperation of their

many

years, Alitalia

Collection's official airline; the Regione

Veneto has provided an annual subsidy since

1981; the loyal

and enthusiastic

Advisory Board of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, presently led by Luigi Moscheri, has been a key part of the collection's success in the

eighteen years since

it

joined the

the Intrapress Collezione

European corporations, earmark cultural

Guggenheim Foundation; and

finally,

Guggenheim, numbering twenty distinguished their

annual support specifically to the

programs of the collection. Thank you to them

all.


How

appropriate that this major retrospective exhibition, the most complete

show

ever of Anni Albers's art,

hundredth anniversary of the

Guggenheim

the Peggy

which has been organized

artist's birth,

was

a perpetual explorer

and

left

sort

Nicholas Fox Weber

Ciuggenheim

Albers, Peggy

and adventurer, someone who broke down

behind the potential ease of one

barriers

devoted to

life

Foundation

art.

thanks to the extraordinary steward of Peggy's legacy, the engaged and

engaging Philip Rylands, Deputy Director of the Pegg\' Guggenheim GoUection, that

We

feel

this

show has been made

profound gratitude

of thought. At the

Pegg\'

him

to

possible

Guggenheim, we

and

and

tor his vision

that

it

opens

in Venice.

his perpetual clarity

are also gratefiil to

Renata Rossani,

who

Chiara Barbieri, Beate Earner, Glaudia Rech, and Sandra Divari,

have

undertaken a range of responsibilities with tremendous grace and energy.

The subsequent venues in Bottrop,

Germany,

is

years

fifty

and

to the

director, the splendid

Musee des

the fore.

It

nil

and where

because of

is

Marie-Glaude Beaud

woman one

a

its

and

brilliance have

is

and tenacious

success assured by

Development; Dominique

however particular

certain Anni,

would have loved

that this exhibition

Anne de Rougement,

Pallut, Exhibitions

has

art

been brought to

director, the exuberant, perceptive,

its

in her personal preferences,

splendid place, with

originalit)'

an

and

Arts Decoratifs in

time and again the place where the distinction of craft and

been rendered

of

Then on

art

of Anni's

a kunsthalle for the finest abstract

of the century, under the expert guidance of its patient Ulrich Schumacher.

Museum

Josef Albers

both the great showcase for the

husband and partner of

Paris,

The

are equally fitting.

fills

that

Director

Department Manager; and

Jean-Paul Leclercq, conservateur en chef du patrimoine charge des collec-

XlXe siecle. And finally the Jewish Museum in New home of Edward M. M. Warburg, the patron who, quietly

tions anterieures au

York, once the

and

background, paid the Alberses' steamship

in the

States in the

Bauhaus.

harrowing period

Thirt)' years later,

it

after the

and powerful Six

United

Gestapo padlocked the doors of the

was the farsighted institution

the patronage of Vera List, awarded for the elegiac

fare to the

Anni her most

Norman

Prayers.

that,

significant

thanks to

commission,

and

Kleeblatt, Susan

Elihu Rose Curator of Eine Arts, and Susan Chevlowe, Associate Curator of Fine Arts, are the open-minded and spirited individuals to

whom we

have

thank for 1109 Fifth Avenue again being Anni's sanctuary in America.

At each of those institutions the support with

Equal thanks go to those

Museum

of Art in

New

at

Department

Museum

the

York, without

have been possible. At the the

staff has tackled this project

and devotion that has made every stage of the work

flair

Museum

of Architecture

of

a pleasure.

Modern Art and Metropolitan

whom

this project

would not

of Modern Art, one must thank,

in

and Design, Matilda McQuaid, Associate

Curator; Luisa Lorch, Cataloguer; and Lynda Zycherman, Associate Conser\'ator; at the Metropolitan Assistant,

Department

Museum of Art,

Jane Adlin, Curatorial

of Twentieth Centur\- Decorative Arts;

the Antonio Ratti Textile Center of the Metropolitan

Conservator

Kajitani,

Gae design that

is

Aulenti

in

and

at

Museum, Nobuko

Charge, and F^lena Phipps, Conservator

so alert to Anni's vision; like Anni, so focused

"anonymous and

herself forward; so thorough

timeless

"

rather than

and quietly assured

is

any attempt

to

on

push

responsible not only for

many of its underlving precepts. Gae's office staff has been wonderful. In particular, we owe profuse thanks to the architect Massimiliano Caruso, who has managed the inordinately complex the appearance of this show, but for

details

of

textile

presentation with infinite patience and diligence, and to the

architect Francesca Eenaroli, for her continuous strength

Executive Director,

The Josefand Anni Albers

of existence for the supreme

pleasures, as well as the never-ending challenges, of a It is

Acknowledgments

should have been initiated by

Anni

C'ollcction. Like

honor oi the

in

and professionalism.


Pandora Tabatabai Asbaghi, co-curator of the breadth and depth of

its

contents,

Anni's persona along with her

art.

this exhibition, sculpted

and expanded

its

concept to include

Pandora has done so with

flair

and

insight,

with the "open eyes" so cherished by both Josef and Anni, and with rare energy and imagination. In compiling the chronology, Tirso Eduard Wiegel provided Pandora with much-appreciated administrative assistance.

Nathan Garland, the designer

of this book, has seen, with spectacular

conscientiousness and attentiveness, to the creation of a publication that

we hope, not only

functions, to

an exhibition catalogue but

as

He was

approach Anni Albers in adequate range.

Chase and Karin Krochmal. Katharine Weber,

as the first

volume

ably assisted by Gregg

as editor

of some of the

text,

has tackled difficult tasks with acuity and great finesse.

Great thanks also go to Anthony Calnek, Director of Publications the

Guggenheim,

humor

in overseeing the

complexity.

am

I

many

at

guidance and constant patience and good

for his superb

stages of assembling this publication in

all its

Managing Editor/Manager of

also gratefiil to Elizabeth Levy,

Foreign Editions; Jennifer Knox- White; Esther Yun, Assistant Production

Manager; and Liza Donatelli, Administrative and Editorial

Assistant.

Brenda Danilowitz, chief curator of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, has, more than anyone

made

else,

this

undertaking a

Her

reality.

attention to detail has been nothing short of staggering, her thoroughness

and

alertness,

even under circumstances of intense pressure, amazing.

It is

impossible to enumerate the tasks she accomplished with fortitude and care,

show would not have been possible without her. Others on the staff of the Albers Foundation have also played

quite simply, this

specifically in the imaginative effects.

essen-

Jackie Ivy, our curatorial associate, has helped in myriad ways,

tial roles.

and

Craig Taylor, curatorial

effective presentation

and

of Anni's personal

and Terry Tabaka, building superin-

assistant,

tendent, have been inordinately helpful in seeing to

vital details

pertaining to

the care of the objects. Phyllis Fitzgerald, our administrative assistant, has,

with her professionalism,

as well as the history

of her long friendship with

Anni, been an invaluable support. Camilla Lyons, an intern, did considerable research for the catalogue chronology.

Kelly Feeney, for

many

years a curator at the foundation,

responsible not only for a re-organization of our

documentation, but also for our success missing or

of time, she did insight. Sarah

this,

and much

Lowengard, the

in re-locating,

over a long period

with intense personal devotion and

else,

textile conservator,

consummate professionalism and with utmost wisdom and generosity.

themselves with advice

and re-acquiring

known and admired Anni

weavings; having

lost

was

Anni Albers holdings and

has cared for the objects skill

and provided

essential

Bobbie Dreier, the dearest of friends to both Anni and Josef Albers

from the moment of their

done more

for this

arrival in

America

in

November

show than she can imagine. She

of 1933, has

has unearthed

Anni's most thrilling hardware jewelry as well as other of the

handmade as always, I

objects, provided reminiscences

brought true joy to

am

all

both

telling

artist's

ways

to

my

of

splendid

and amusing, and,

of us engaged in Anni's work and

also grateful in countless

some

life.

fellow directors of the

Albers Foundation, John Eastman and Charles Kingsley, for their unflagging

support and generosity.

been an angel

who

And

As Anni declared is

always an "and."

century, of a a

On

any others, be

it

at

Hans Farman,

has, as always,

in her favorite

1

quotation from Kandinsky, there

behalf of one of the true pioneers of the twentieth

woman whose

wonderful friend,

Anni's brother,

has provided what no one else could have supplied.

integrity

repeat the

was on

a par

with her

words Anni Albers loved

talent,

to utter

and of

more than

ceremonial occasions or everyday moments: thank you.


Why

Anni Albers?

To begin

Introduction

with, she transformed textiles as an art form. Anni elevated the

woven threads and put the mediimi on equal footing with oil on canvas and watereolor on paper. And so Buckminster Fuller declared, "Anni Albers, more than any other weaver, has succeeded in exciting mass realization of the complex structure of fabrics. She has brought the artist's intuitive sculpturing faculties and the agelong weaver's arts into status of

Nicholas Fox Weber

historical successful marriage."'

She took up weaving a

full-Hedged

her,

artist, just like

Anni had wanted

reluctantly.

men who

the

but circumstances and certain unalterable

even though she

in the way. Yet

felt

that she

Paul Klee and

\'asil\'

of abstract art

when

Kandinsk\' had accomplished it

was

still

wall hangings of incomparable If weavers

realities of

her milieu got

had been forced into

medium what

she did her utmost to achieve with the

to be a painter,

attended the Bauhaus around

in paint. .A

pioneer

concept, in the 1910s, she

a radical

power and

and

Hair

textiles,

her heroes like

made

visual excitement.

of previous generations had replicated the flower patterns and

decorative motifs that were prescribed for the form, Anni used her yarns to create "visual resting places" (a term she

borrowed from one of her

Wilhelm Worringer), which are as calming and diverting as they infinitely rich and complex. Anni's textile compositions put in visual

heroes, are

form aspects of the natural world and of philosophical thought that reflected her endlessly probing, inventive

The

direct effects

fiir-reaching. Abstract wall

and echoes

mind.

of her daring search ha\e been

come

hangings have

to flourish as an art form.

become completely acceptable for thread to be its own voice, to have no obligation to represent anything other than itself. And in her own, extremely small body of work, she made individual masterpieces It

has

weavings that inspire meditation enrich the

lives

And what

a

do

brave

that profoundly

fix,

I.

woman Anni

was! She

left

the comforts of her

the unprecedented at the Bauhaus. She married a

other side of the tracks in art.

to

quick

who wanted man from the

upbringing to join those daring souls

Itixurious bourgeois to

as well as a

of their viewers.

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

because they shared a consuming faith

in part

Their joint pursuit of technical and aesthetic heights counted more

them than anything

to represent to

embody and moral and human standards. The making came both

else in life; the visual

them the highest

of art was the means and the goal that enabled

this

to

wonderful couple

not just to survive, but also to thrive, in spite of the sometimes desperate vicissitudes

of their existence,

duress were a

realit)'.

which Nazism,

in

illness,

and

financial

Their accomplishments triumphed.

Anni's marriage to Josef Albers that she holds for us. Neither of

is,

of course, part of the fascination

them bought

into any of the cliches that

on the subject. Sometimes Anni of downtrodden wife, but then she would disparage

others might have tried to promulgate

would assume

the role

the progress potentially offered by feminism.

whom,

there

is

no

single

answer

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

On

same

cause. Integrity, hard work, the serenity

at

best, the deliberate

its

distract

them from

their

ongoing and

Not only did Anni

who

influenced

and strength afh)rded bv

avoidance of those sides of the

of trendiness and corrupt values:

some

the issue of

except that both were believers in the

this

art

diligent search, the

mutual loathing

was what the Alberses cared

create individual objects that hold

of the finest abstract paintings of the century, but she

art

world that might

up

made

for.

against

functional

materials of incomparable subtlet\ and richness as well as practical

Anni Albers, Dessau,

ca. 1929,

photographed by Umbo.


2.

Josef and

Anni

Albers, Oberstdort,

Germany, 1927-28.

3.

Anni and Josef AJbers,

1942,

photographed by Ted Dreier.

10


A

effectiveness.

made an auditorium — —was sound-absorbing and

wall covering she

earned her a Bauhaus diploma

tor

the piece that

light-reHecting

while unimaginably modern and soothing to look

at.

The

air

and

light

that Howed through a space divider she designed were as essential to piece as its wooden strips, dowel, and thread. .Another wall covering

concealed

And

nail holes.

in all

extolled equally; the synthetic

approach was forever

of

this the

the

machine and handweaving were

was revered alongside the natural. Anni's

original, ba.sed

more on her own

and understanding than on .iinthing

olxservations

in the air, .iiul she

was wondertullv

able to surprise us.

Anni's influence was vast. She directly affected her students at

two of the in

greatest art institutions of the twentieth century

Weimar and

North

C^arolina

and Black Mountain College near

Des.sau,

—and, through

her

work and writing and and guided

of her thoughts worldwide, she inspired artists in directions that

And

have

quite late in

life

now become

the

Bauhaus

Asheville,

the dissemination

a large

number

of

part of the mainstream.

she became a printmaker who, in collaboration

with some of the leading technicians of the medium, blended screenprint with photo-offset, used the processes of etching, shifted and overprinted plates,

and drenched lithographic stones

such startling and

in acid, in

original

ways that time and again she achieved the unprecedented, while

making

art that

is

as fascinating

No wonder and." That

as

it

was brave.

and

a writer

aesthetic philosopher she was.

on

D«/^//>/^^ invariably has readers exclaiming

Her cultured and educated

voice, nourished as

it

its

Her book

strength and eloquence.

was by the wisdom and

temperance of the Enlightenment and Goethe, was infused with reticence

so

I

always an

is

verity certainly applied to her.

And what

On

and engaging

she so often quoted Kandinsky's, "There

and modesty. "The good designer

believe, the

one who does not stand

is

a Zen-like

1.

in the

appearance.

A

way

to a useful life

useful object should

perform

(What would she have made of today's and the conspicuous display encapsulation of

The

its

reality

examine

it,

its

without an ambitious

duty without

Her

faith in art,

ado."'

3.

it is endless. It

to us as

never ending. As

and the

we

obeys laws never totally lucid to our

understanding.

The

reality

of art

as completion

Art

Who

is

is

concluded in

itself. It sets

up

its

own

laws

of vision.

constant

and

else has articulated

it is

complete.'

such ideas

as succinctly or

"Design:

"Art

Press, 1959).

Anonymous

— A Constant"

pp. 47-48-

was nothing short of marvelous.

of nature will appear

Amii Albcrs,

.uid

I

inuless"

(1946), in ibid., pp. b-~.

obsession with designers' logos

of designers' names?)

possibilities,

much

j.ickci ot

Designing (Middlctown, C^onn.:

Wesleyan University 2.

sends his products on their

Quoted on back

On

anonymous designer, way of the material; who

the

engagingly?

II

(1939), in ibid.,


4-

Wall hanging, 1924.

Cotton and

{66% X 39X The

silk,

169.6

x

100.3

cm

inches).

Josef and

Anni Albers

Foundation, Bethany.

^Miimd


5-

VC'all

hant;ing, 1925.

Wool and silk, 236 x 96 cm inches). (92 X X 37 Die Neue Sammlung St.uuliches 'X<.

n

Museum

tiir

Munich

^64/26.

angewandtc Kunst,


6.

Wall hanging, 1925.

Silk, cotton,

and

acetate,

145 X 92 cm (57 X X 36 -Ab inches). Die Neue Sammlung Staatliches

Museum

fiir

Munich

363/26.

7.

angewandte Kunst,

Wall hanging, 1926.

X

cm

Silk,

X 48 inches). The Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, 182.9

122

(72

Cambridge, Massachusetts, Association

Fund BR

48.132.

14


15


8.

Preliminary design for a wall

hanging, 1926. Gouache and pencil

on

paper, 34.9

(13

K X

II /ÂŤ

x

29.5

inches).

of Modern Art,

cm

The Museum

New York,

Gift of the designer 397.51.

16


HI

ann^ia* alters entvmrf

fiir

3.

26.

jacriuard

1. 9.

Preliminary design tor a wall

hanging, 1926. Gouache and pencil

on paper, (10

X

25.4

x

8 inches).

Modern

Art,

20.3

cm

The Museum of

New York,

Gift of the designer 398.51.

17


lo.

Design

for a jacquard weaving,

1926. Watercolor and gouache

on

paper, 34.3

(13

X X iiK

x

28.6

cm

inches).

The Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Gift of Anni Albers 48.46.

Annl Albere 113.1926 design for Jaquard ireaTlng

II.

Drapery material, 1927.

Designed

for the

Dessau. Spun

(2X X

Theater Cafe Altes,

silk,

4i/< inches).

of Modern Art,

7

x

105.4

cm

The Museum

New York,

Gift of the designer 451.51.

18


12.

Tablecloth material, 1930.

Mercerized cotton, 59.3 x 72.4 (23

Xx

The Museum of Modern

New

cm

zS'A inches).

York, Purchase

Art,

Fund

561.53.

19


.

"

~T

fe^ \\it

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

wiri

TrinBML-

annelise albers 8. 25. gobelin V besitz nationfelmuseiiin miinchen '

iSiiiiitft'^iilf

"o'>i*(J''

I"

IV-

:

13.

Design

11

^

tor a wall hanging, 1925.

Gouache on paper, 31.7 X 19.2 cm (12X X 7%(, inches). The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Gift of the designer 395.51.

20


'-;

c Iters If Jute-teppich y..

>.nnÂťS-iÂŤ*t

2oo cm.

'^

a<

27.

131-,

c,-,

14.

Design for

^cv-

a jute rug, 1927.

Watercolor and india ink on paper,

cm (13 X 10 The Museum of Modern 34.6

X

26.3

/^

X<.

inches).

Art.

New

Gift of the designer 403.51.

21

York,


WVWVWVrt H iBV'^H'''Hi

H

Hi

Bl

H

~iH

Hi

B H H H Jl H I I

^'-^1

'~

-p,

i.

IB'.

;sr

w

^';.

.^

.,:'

1^

PjBm

»«

.iiifiiiiiii

nrie»±i&« 6,1136X3 2.

sweater teppich

28.

;

gvc-^-^-

,

'' <- -""^

15.

Design for

a rug for a child's

room, 1928. Gouache on paper,

X 10 34.1 X 26.5 cm (13 The Museum of Modern '/(,

New York, 405.51.

22

%. inches).

Art,

Gift of the designer


c?.

^.ft^M^^ÂŤJÂŤA a

!^H^aP^^^iW^ ^

^ ^Jg ^ ^"^

^^^^

9e.

g^

^ ^

arais

gg

ted iprcao!

annaiias albers

2. 28. entv.urf fur eine 'bettdeclce

^-'-

i6.

10

7h^ It^Y

Design

for a bedspread, 1928.

Watercolor and pencil on paper, 32.5 X 25.9 cm (12% X 10X6 inches). The Museum of Modern Art,

New

York, Gift of the designer

406.51.

23


ste JeSlTer^orhknGc ftr'dc. oliappeseide loo

on;

th.ateroafe in desnau

.tr.

17.

Design

Designed

for drapery material, 1927.

for the

Theater Cafe Altes,

Dessau. Watercolor on paper, inches). cm (9 X Art, New York, Modern The Museum of

22.9

X

35.2

I

yi

Gift of the designer 404.51.

24


i8.

Design

1928.

tor a theater curtain,

Gouache on

paper,

cm (4X X i^'A inches). The Museum of Modern Art, II.

4X

35.2

New York,

Gift of the designer

407.51.

25


19-

Design for a tablecloth, 1930.

Watercolor and gouache

on square-ruled paper,

cm (10 X X 9/. inches). The Museum of Modern Art, 26 X 24.1

New

York, Gift of the designer

393-5I-

26


^f*^^

Mil

III

20.

Design for a tablecloth, 1930.

Gouache on paper, 30.2 X 23.8 cm (11 X X

9 X inches).

The Museum of Modern

New York,

Art,

Gift of the designer

408.51.

27


Thread

as Text:

The Woven Work of Anni

Virginia Gardner Troy

Albers

Anni Albers was acutely aware of the semantic function of thread and textiles in the context of art and design. Throughout her prolific and lengthy weaving career she explored the notion of thread degree that remains unsurpassed by any other textile

She achieved

"'

textiles

Andean

Albers advanced textile art,

by synthesizing what she had learned from two

this position

primary sources: Andean

as text to a

artist this century.

and the

art

and teaching of Paul

Klee.'

most outstanding examples of

textiles as "the

calling the weavers of ancient Peru her "great teachers"'

and

using their extraordinary textiles as her primary textbook in her quest to create art that could be "turn[ed] to again

possibly

last for

she stated, "I "his art

is

and that

lasting,

teachers, the artistic

Andean

is

to Klee as

what It is

my great

interests

that

might

Of Klee,

things have. "^

hero," because

me: the lasting things, and not

significant that Albers linked her great

weavers, to her hero, Klee, by

way of her concept

permanence.

Klee's art

mind by

and again and

some ancient Peruvian

come always back

quick passing things."'

[the]

of

centuries as

and Andean weavings were

her interest in

artistic

language.

also

connected

in Albers's

Through her continuous

investigation of thread as a carrier of meaning, not simply as a utilitarian

product, she was able to create art that functions as she believed her ancient

embedded her work with of the pictograph

ideograph

mark

mark

representation).

that refers to an external subject), the

first

and the

an idea, not necessarily through pictorial

These semantic and

Albers's

language,

that stands for a letter or word),

(a sign that indicates

visual signs that Klee

as a visual

predecessors had done." She also

poetic content by exploring in thread the notion or

(a sign

calligraph (a beautiful

Andean

had examined weavings to

artistic

elements were forms of

in his art.

result

from her

interest in visual sign

languages were her large, multi-weave wall hangings from the Dessau

Bauhaus period, such Black-White-Red this

as

an untitled hanging from 1926

{ic)x6, fig. 21),

and Black-White-Gray

time she had become an important force

weaving workshop toward

a systematic

(fig.

4), fig. 22)."

(i^iy,

in leading the

By

Bauhaus's

and orderly approach

to textile

design and production that emphasized the integral relationship between

construction and pattern. In this

and the substitution of one for another, could

of the production process." to decipher

textiles

could be produced in

it;

The

role of

series,

one weave construction

change the entire nature of the finished

same time Albers promoted the code

way

fiber for another, or

handweaving

as

textile.

one of the

At the first

steps

use of a system implies the availability of a

in Albers's case the textile itself served as the code, or

prototype, lor production. Fhe approach to textile design and production that she developed at the

28

Bauhaus was one

of Albers's great achievements.


21.

Black-White-Red, 1964

reconstruction of a 1926 original.

Cotton and (68

Xx

46

silk, 175

x

118

cm

X. inches).

Bauh.uis-ArLhi\', Berlin.

22.

Black-White-Gray, 1964

reconstruction of a 1927 original

Cotton and (57 'X X 46

"/(.

silk,

147

x

118

inches).

Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin.

.

11

M

"

rj JET! 29

cm


^

»J" Affuis-

for

it

provided an alternative to the narrative and figural European tapestry

tradition— in which

a textile

ftfi (fcf

J*^<*'^

and it allowed the modern weaver to compose on the loom.' Through her study of Andean textiles, Albers

often created by others i f/M.

flH.li

directly

was able

how

understand

to

the direct communication between use and and product, was accomplished in ancient

design, between process

^

t

was produced by weavers based on cartoons

hand looms by

times on simple

a sophisticated culture that did not use

conventional Western writing systems, but instead employed symbols to *>»

/fc;

J^a

(fa-

communicate

ideas.'"

In designing her wall hangings, Albers

neaCj

on

a language

division.

at the

"Padagogischen Nachlass,"

Kunstmuseum

These

The

which Klee taught

in his theoretical classes

year 1927 was an important one for Albers, because she

was among those

ca. 1923.

principles,

Bauhaus, had an integral relationship to the underlying structure

of weaving. Paul KJee, Page from the

23.

system based

a

of rotation, color swapping, repetition, multiplication,

to the principles

and

employed

of geometric, modular forms, which she arranged according

who

attended a course taught by Klee specifically for

weaving-workshop students." Certainly she had had access

to his

Bern, Paul Klee Stiftung.

work

before this time through his published pedagogical notebooks and exhibitions of his work." stated,"

and

"We

were so

full

of admiration for Klee," she once

"He was my god

added,

later

at the time."'^

What

she

primarily absorbed from Klee during his course were his lessons dealing

with structural composition, particularly in relation to the explained

it,

the grid

units as well as

is

a structure generated

grid.

As Klee

both by the repetition of

by the under- and overlapping of bands. Pages from

his

pedagogical notebooks show that weaving featured in his thoughts on the grid. Indeed, for a unit

on

structural composition he

warp and weft construction of weaving in order to

show

"I

diagrammed

weaving

as well as

the inherent checkerboard pattern of the

think

I

owe most of my

the

in cross section

medium

insight into problems of

form

(fig. 23).'*

to Klee,"

Albers later stated, pointing to Klee's importance as a source for her early investigations into the language of nonobjective

within the idiom of weaving."'

The geometric

form and

its

significance

patterns that she created

within a grid format are essentially self-referential in that they are inherent to the works' structure; at the

the idea of text.

The

same time they suggest both the image and

viewer scans the images for clues to a code, and by

doing so becomes engaged in a perceptual

activity

Albers's exploration of textiles as text

of sign modules was reinforced during

this

not unlike that of reading.

through the arrangement

period by the

Andean

textiles

she saw in various museums.'' She admired the dazzling and complex color

and shape patterning of

Inca, Wari,

and Tiawanaku

tunics,

which have

a

strong similarity to the type of patterning she was exploring at the Bauhaus.

She 24. in a

Tocapu tunic, Island of Titicaca, found stone chest near Moro-Kato. American

Museum

of Natural History,

New

F.

Bandelier in 1896 32601.

Andean open-weave and multi-weave

textiles.

Albers

structures in these textiles rather than to specific iconography, even

though

York,

Part of the Garces Collection, Purchased by

A.

also studied

responded primarily to the concept and use of ideographic signs and

she was aware that discrete information about the

embedded within

their

forms and structures. She was particularly interested

in the Inca tunics that incorporated a geometric as tocapu in the

Quechua

language. She

examples of such tunics in the

Museum

Vieux Perou

(1924)."'

fig.

24)

motif patterning known

would have seen outstanding fiir

Munich,'* as well as in two books: Walter des Alten Peru (1923,

Andean world was

Vdlkerkunde

Lehmanns

in Berlin

and

Kunstgeschichte

and Raoul d'Harcourt's Les

Tissus Indiens

These technically extraordinary, handmade

with their complex geometric and color arrangements, served formal and technical models for Albers's exploration of

du

textiles,

as ideal

textiles as art.

Albers immigrated to the United States with her husband, Josef,

30


in

19?^ From that year until 1949 she taught

Black Mountain College,

at

made the first of more From the start she including Andean textiles

near Asheville, North Carolina. In 1935 the couple

than fourteen trips to Mexico and South America.'"

combed

Mexico

the markets in

lor "old things,"

During these

for her personal textile collection.

substantial collection of

trips she also

assembled a

Black Mountain College, and acquired

textiles for

numerous items tor her and lose! s collection of Mesoamerican and Andean art, which eventually included more than one thousand ceramic, and

stone, jade,

textile pieces.'

mediately after her

first visit

of ancient American impact of Klee's

(both 1936,

She was

and

years

made

figs.

Mexico also

reflect

her deepening understanding

beginning to

understand the

fully

work and teaching now that she was able

upon her Bauhaus hangings she

art.

to

woven work im-

that occurred in Alberss

Fhe dramatic changes

in the

her memories of them.

filter

United

States,

element of Klee's

first

back

two wall

Ancient Writing and Monte Alban

companion

37 and 38), which are possibly

decisively different

to look

The

pieces,

were

from her Bauhaus work. Both pieces incorporate an

art that she assimilated in

own work

her

only after her

Bauhaus period: the exploration of the personal and associational aspects of subject matter, particularly in the context of semantics.

With Monte Alban Albers used

for the first time a technique

throughout her subsequent weaving

that she practiced

career: the supple-

mentary, or floating, weft, in which an extra weft thread "floated,"

is

above the woven surface. Albers would have seen

threaded, or this

common

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

Andean technique which is still widely used in modern Latin America in Germany and in publications; indeed, she owned numerous examples of it.' In Mo>ite AlbcDi Albers used this technique to "draw" lines on the surface of the woven structure to refer to the ascending and descending and the underground chambers of the ancient

steps, the Bat plazas,

after

which the work

former

civilization

named. "We were aware

is

upon

of layer

under the ground," she wrote of her

The supplementary-weft technique

on the

to be vitally important, her focus

visit to

overall textile

inscription

was

new under-

standing of both Andean art and Klee's vision. She later said,

had

.

.

.

influence

on

my work

and

my

continued

a significant

departure from her Bauhaus work. This change reveals her

[Klee] probably

"I find that

thinking by just

looking at what he did with a line or a dot or a brush stroke, and a

way

to find

my way

in

my own

of

the site."

allowed her to devote attention to the

While the structure of the

surface of the weaving.

site

layer

my own

material and

In Ancient Writing s\\t similarly used a

title

tried in

I

craft discipline."'''

and abstract

visual

forms to imply content. She evoked the idea of visual language by grouping together differently textured and patterned squares like words or glyphs,

locking this "text" into an underlying grid.

margins, appears to Klee, Albers

jump forward

sometimes used pictographic,

signs simultaneously in her visual language

work

in

and mark-making,

The

to be "read

"

"text," like

which

words on

calligraphic,

is

set

within

a page."

Like

and ideographic

order to address concerns related to

a practice that

occupied Albers through-

out her career in the United States and that she continually framed within the context of to have

um

Andean

She was amazed that Andean culture seems

textiles.

had no written language, and she concluded that the

itself

"was their language

.

.

.

their

way of speaking about

textile

medi-

the world."''

Monte Alban and Ancioit U'';7//;/i^ signaled the beginning of Alberss long exploration of what she called her "pictorial weaving." his term is somewhat contradictory in that she never wove recognizable pictures 1

in the traditional

European manner; "abstract

pictorial

weaving"

(as


——

opposed

more accurate term. one method by which

would be

to "figurative pictorial weaving")

Albers thought of the floating-weft technique as

unique

to create a

direction of

art."'"

image

pictorial

the raison d'etre of

With

my

Quipu,

Inca,

from the

coastal valley

Natural History,

New York

Museum

threads

upon

which

unique objects of her weavings, Albers could

Black-White-Gold I

of

threads be articulate again," she wrote,

let

change her work Irom prototype 25-

"the

pictorial weavings.""**

the augmentation of the floating-weft thread,

essentially created

of Chancay, Peru. American

worked toward

She believed that the creation of art revolved around

the process of articulation: "To "is

in thread as she

a

42), she

{i<)')0, fig.

added

calligraphic floating-weft

woven

the central portion of the

effectively

weaving

to art. For her pictorial

field.

She

introduced

also

325190.

the supplementary knotted weft, a technique derived from a Peruvian source,

most

likely the elaborate

Andean recording

device called a

quipu, a knotted thread instrument that held codified data (see

fig. 25)."'

Discussing the Andeans' use of quipus, Albers stated,

[Andean weavers] developed a very

tricky mathematics.

.

instruments were, again, not written. They didn't have as I told you.

But what

did [have] was threads

they

quipus, this instrument.

And the

with different knots

Here was a

clear

how

to

and different do

The amount

and applied

and so

heights

called

had

to

ivas indicated

on. I

knew

once,

as text,

which Albers

own work.

to her

woven work of the

Albers's pictorial

dominated by her

ivriting, .

it.'"

example of thread functioning

innovatively translated

.

These

.

dijferent things that they

deliver were designated on each thread.

at one time,

.

.

1950s to the early 1960s was

and use of visual sign languages. She

interest in

believed that textiles, particularly

Andean

textiles,

served as "transmitters

of meaning." She wrote.

Along with cave paintings, threads were among the

earliest transmitters

of meaning, hi Peru, ivhere no written language in the generally

understood sense had developed even by the time of the conquest in the sixteenth century, this

but because of it

come

to

Albers

On

we find

—one of

to

my mind not

in spite

the highest textile cultures

of

we have

know."

wove Two

44) in 1952 with these thoughts in mind.

(fig.

top ol an underlying plain-weave checkerboard ground, Albers wove

heavy dark

fibers using a

supplementary technique. Thus the dark shapes

appear to overlap one another upon the ground, creating a dynamic and scriptlike figure-ground relationship. Tivo

was originally woven "sideways,"

with the short end in the vertical direction; afterwards Albers turned it

in

and signed

horizontally,

it

on the lower

one direction and then turning

it

right.

The

to another after

practice of

working

completion was

Andean weavers of the Middle Horizon

frequently employed by expert

(500-900 ad) and Late Horizon (1438-1534 AD)periods." Klee, too,

fre-

quently turned or inverted his work after completion."

Two

is

a particularly significant

De of De

clear indebtedness to

formal vocabulary

Stijl.

Stijl

—which

she

for over three decades,

viewing

it

American

parallels

between

their use

She saw

art.

De

Stijl

subject matter later

would

32

striking piece because of

its

in light

first

learned at the Bauhaus

of her contact with ancient

De

Stijl

and Andean

textiles in

of universal abstract languages and patterns.'^ Albers was aware

that early

while

and

Albers maintained her involvement with the

images were essentially distillations of recognizable

abstractions that resulted in pictographic representations

images moved toward the ideographic and the nonobjective. She

also have noticed that Pict

Mondrian's and Theo van Doesburgs


linear block

compositions echo the inherent construction of weaving and

create figure-ground relationships like that of text

The

between the principles of

parallels

apparent in works

textiles are particularly

ambiguous and

ships are

De

a page.'

and Andean

Stijl

which figure-ground

in

abstract pictorial signs

owned numerous Andean

ones.'" Albers

on

relation-

merge with ideographic

textiles that

contain this visual

ambiguity, such as a C]hancay fragment constructed with two different techniques: the top portion

portion

is

interlocked tapestry

and value patterning,

color

supplementar\-weft brocade, while the lower

is

are established

bold figure-ground relationships that

as well as

lower portion

reversals, the

for Two, while the

upper portion served

manv of these burlap

late is

of

stepped lines

its

clearly a formal source

as a technical source.

Modern

works on burlap,

at the

1949 KJee Klee painted

Art.'" Interestingly,

a loosely

woven, natural-fiber

cloth.

painted, the warp-and-weft structure and texture of the

emphasized,

is

In

which Albers would have seen

Museum

retrospective at the

cloth

is

also reveals an indebtedness to Klee's late script pictures with

their grafifitilike signs,

When

dynamic

parts involve

through contrast and repetition.

and figure-ground

Two

Roth

26).

(fig.

on the Rocks [Flora

as in KJee's Tlora

am

FeLeru 1940, 26. I'rc-C'olumhi.m textile Ir.igiiK-iu,

fig.

work

27), resulting in a

that appears to be both painting

Klee frequently explored the merging of

artistic

and

textile.

Chancay. 1100-1400 AU. Cotton,

techniques along with the

merging of signs, and Albers clearly emulated this fluid approach.

Soon

companion

after Albers

made Two

piece, Pictographic (1953,

sideways." Blocks of color arranged

on

she fig.

a checkerboard

ground

to refer to the is

not

as

image of a

pronounced

of value and

While the

in Pictographic as

contrast between light

it is

in

cm

(6

y*

X

5

inches),

I're-("olumbian Textiles ot the Joset and .•\nni

Albers Foundation, Bethany.

are "inscribed"

this

work and dark

Two, the varying degrees

between the blocks and the Xs produce subtle

intensit)'

figure-

that evoke a passage of text or layers of text.

ground relationships

The most

text.

12.7

rhe Anni Albers Collection ot

wove what may have been a 28), also a long rectangle woven

with forty-one Xs. As in Two, Albers used line and shape in

X

16.5

striking examples of Albers's pictorial weavings

from

main thematic groups:

the 1950s and 1960s can be divided into two

those using imagery derived from ancient American motifs or landscapes,

South of the Border (1958) and Tikal (1958); and those evoking linguistic characters and systems through the rectilinear arrangement of

such

as

ideographic signs.

Many

textual references, as in

of the

Memo

titles

(1958),

of these

Open

latter

works have ,

Haikti (1961), and Code (1962). In light of Albers's focus

and

signs

it is

American

interesting to note that .some of the

art that

stamps used

direct

Letter {i%%) Jotting (1959),

first

on

inscriptions

pieces of ancient

Albers purchased in Mexico were ceramic and stone

to print

and block designs

are similar to the type

29-32)."'

(figs.

once used to compose

These stamps

text in printing in that

both

require the creation of a figure-ground relationship in order for the

image or

text to

1^

be seen and therefore read.

The relationship of image/text to ground was one that Albers delighted in and explored with increasing intensity during the 1950s. pictorial

weavings of

this

rectilinearit)'

within patterns and

in pattern

is

90.7

sequences. In

Memo,

to read this

"memo"

bars.

strict

for

Although one's

for information, Albers's

intention was not simply to simulate a page of text; rather, she sought to investigate the nature of ideographic signs visual information

Klee, /•/on;

am

(»i

inc kocKi

FeLen), 1940.

X

70.5

cm

(35 'kfiX

Kunstmuseum Bern

a repertoire of sign characters that are similar to

an alphabet, and these are arranged along horizontal automatic respon.se

I'aiil

Oil and tempera on burlap,

Her

period reveal a deliberate effort to create a high

degree of contrast between figure and ground, and to maintain a

example, she employed

.

(Flora

and the expression of codified

through thread.

33

G

27

X

1622.

inches)


Cotton,

28. Pictographic, 1953.

45.7

X

101.6

cm

(18

X 40

inches).

The

Detroit Institute of Arts, Founders Society purchase, Stanley and

Madalyn Rosen

Fund, Dr. and Mrs. George Kamperman Fund, Octavia W. Bates Fund,

Emma S.

Fechimer and William C. Yawkev Fund.

29.

Pre-Columbian stamp, Guerrero,

1250-1521 AD. Ceramic, 7

wide. Peabody History,

New

Museum

^a>.

251685.

Peabody

inches) wide.

History,

New

Museum

8

cm

(3 VÂŤ

of Natural

^iuÂť

Haven, Connecticut, Gift of

^MiMiilMi

Anni Albers 257022.

Josef and

Pre-Columbian

roller

stamp, possibly

Valley of Mexico, 1200-100 BC. Perforated

sandstone, 8

Museum

New

cm

(3 /s

inches) long.

Peabody

of Natural History,

Haven, Connecticut, Gift of Josef

and Anni Albers 257679.

32.

Pre-Columbian

Valley of Mexico, 9

cm

(3 Vi

roller

stamp, Tlatilco,

1200-900

inches) long.

of Natural History,

BC. Ceramic,

Peabody

New

^K

^^

Pre-Columbian stamp, Highland

Mexico, 1250-1521 AD. Ceramic,

31.

m m^h^^^yi. ^m ^ ^^^P^5 s^^^^^3^1 ^3m M9 ^ ^^ Jt^'m^^^

(^V, inches)

Haven, Connecticut, Gift of

Josef and Anni Albers

30.

cm

of Natural

Museum

Haven,

Connecticut, Gift of Josef and Anni Albers 257542.

34

m

'^9

M JaMM QSS


tics, in

work:

a

(1955, fig- 4~) also relates signihcantl)- to

IHtiy

of Squares

way

that has generally

element of

its

been overlooked

white squares and

play. Thirry-six

brown squares appear

in

horizontal bands. As the viewer scans for a code, one system

on

medium brown band

a

formula does not emerge. In

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; but an

than the earlier work, and

its title

is

revealed

is

brown band

or three

overall, sequential

way, PLiy oj Squares

this

Black-White-Gray (1927), but Play of Squares in texture

dark

thirr)'-rhree

apparcntk random order along rwenty-three

every row has either three dark squares on a light light .squares

seman-

of Albers's

in discussions

similar to Alber.s's

is

smaller and nubbier

suggests that

is

it

more

poetic

and improvisational. Ibis nonsensical and apparentl\- random arrange-

ment of squares within of words and

Here

.sounds).

format evokes an ambiguous arrangement

a linear

letters (a play

of words) or of musical notes

connection ro Klee

Albers's

is

(a

play of

again apparent: Klee, a

master of word play, shifting signs, and improvisation, perfected the art of visual

pimning by

skillfully creating figures, shapes,

metamorphose from one thing

to

and

texts that

could

another depending on the viewers

reading of them. Albers was clearly aware that the process could easily overwhelm

strict

creativity, so

limitations of the weaving

she continually advanced

the role of improvisation anti frequentl}' brought up the subject of play

when

discussing the creative process. In her 1941 article

Today," for example, she suggested that designing

"Handweaving loom should

at the

first

involve play:

An to

elementary approach will be a playfiil beginning, unresponsive

any demand of usefdness, an enjoyment of colors, forms, surface

contrasts

and

harmonies, a tactile sensuousness. This

first

and

always most important pleasure in the physical qualities of materials needs but the simplest techjiique

and must

be sustai)U'd tluvugh

the most complicated one. For just this satisfaction

material qualities

Through artist

is

working with

this playful

coming f'om

part of the satisfaction we get from art/" materials, Albers believed that the

could begin to create meaningful form.

Two main efforts dominated Albers's work of the 1960s: large woven murals for public spaces primarily ark curtains for synagogues and her book On Weaving, which is still a standard text in weaving courses

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

today.

The

.synagogue commissions required Albers to approach text-

another way, and

related issues in yet

this resulted in

powerful ark curtains

and celebrate the Hebrew Scriptures.

that both protect

Albers achieved the union of art and utility that

is

evident in

these curtains through her admiration and imderstandin" of the Klee,

who

.sought to interpret the physical

in codified yet playful

study of Andean

work of

and metaphysical worlds

ways. Ihis union can equally be attributed to her

textiles. In

On Weaving s\\e

described the

work

of the

Andean weavers with admiration:

Of infinite phantasy

withi)i the

world of threads, conveying strength

or playfidness, mystery or the reality of their surroundings, endlessly

varied in presentation

and construction,

a code of basic concepts, these that

is

From

textiles set

even though

bound to

a standard ofachievement

unsurpassed." these

two sources, Albers deri\ed the inspiration

for her

exploration of semantics within the field of weaving. As a teacher, collector, student,

of artists

and

artist,

and designers

and Albers

herself,

an

Albers has inspired subsequent generations

to strive to create, like Klee, the

art that

is

lastint:

Andean weavers,

and meaniniiful.

35


Pre-Columbian

textile

fragments from Anni Albers's personal collection

33.

Late Intermediate period

(1100-1400 ad). Cotton and wool, 36.2

X

The

18. 1

cm

(14X X 7/s inches).

Josef and Anni Albers

Foundation, Bethany PC018.

34.

Nasca period (100 BC-700 AD).

Wool, 36.2 X 7.9 (14

X

)<

The

cm

3/8 inches).

Josef and

Anni Albers

Foundation, Bethany PC032.

i.'A

35.

Middle Horizon period

(500-900 ad). Cotton and wool, 27.6 X 30.2 (10 Ts

The

X

II 7s

cm

inches).

Josef and

Anni Albers

Foundation, Bethany PC020.

36

*"^

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

rlfliTnTtifi

I

I


Notes

1.

Mary

Jane Jacob, in tur

A Modern Weaver

Albcrs:

language, no graph paper, and no peniiK

"Anni

(.ssay

could manage such inventions, wc should

as Artist," in

hope

The Woven and (iraphic Art of Anni Albers

be able

(Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian

these structures."

1985),

was the

first

Press,

to discuss the textual

also briefly

between

mentioned

connection

a

contact with Peruvian weaving

For

(p. 72).

Droste, Giinia

am

Significance of

Woven and Work," Ph.D. diss., Emory

Pedagogical

Frankfurt

Albers

UMI und

Anden,

Amerika. Kiinstlerpaare

in

'

Europa und

Main, 1986; Ingrid Radewaldt,

Hamburg,

1986;

and

In her 1924 article "Bauhauswebcrei,"

Albers (who was then

known

as

weavers could learn from ancient weavers,

who wove

Awareness and

"according to the inherent prop-

of handicraft and material" rather

Application," Surface Design Journal lo,

erties

no. 2 (winter 1996), pp. lO-ii, 35-37.

than following prepared plans.

Anni

On

Albers,

Weaving (M\A<i\cuwjn.

Conn.: Wesleyan University

4.

Sevim

reprinted in Bauhaus

with Anni

Fesci, interview

New

transcript in

Zeitschrift "Junge

Menschen" (Munich: Kraus Reprint, 1980).

Haven, Conn., July

Archives of American Art,

New

5,

p.

This was discussed in two important

ID.

1968,

pre- World

W.

York;

War

and A.

Rciss

Ancon

The Josef and Anni Albers

Foundation archives, 5.

p. 188;

Weimar: Sonderheft der

Ibid., p. 6.

AJbers,

"Bauhauswebcrei," Junge Menschen 8 (Nov. 1924),

Press, 1965),

pp. 69-70. 3.

I

German

(Berlin, 1880-87), translated into

(London and

Richard Polsky, interview with Anni

Max

and

1985,

11,

Berlin:

Gewcbe mit Szenenhaften

Resesarch Office, Columbia Universit)-,

in

The

Josef and Anni

6.

Recent

of thread

document

in

terms of

ancient American textiles include Jane

"The Anthropolog)' of Cloth,

Schneider,

Annual Review of Anthropology

16 (1987),

Weave for the Sun: Andean

Textiles in the

(Boston:

Museum

and Walter Mignolo,

of

Boone

Fine Arts, 1992); Elizabeth Hill

eds.. Writing

Press, 1994);

Without

University

in

On

Weaving

fabrics that

(p. 50):

Andean

textiles

"Double weaves

are

have two separate layers which

can be locked

at

both

within the fabric,

at

sides, at

one

side, or,

any number of places

where the design asks

for

an exchange of

top and bottom layers, usually of difVerent colors.

There are

also triple

period, these factors

were discussed

Ernest

in

Fuhrmann, Reich

der Inka (Hagcn and Darmstadt: Folkwang

Museum,

1922); ^'ilhelm Hausenstein,

BiUnerei exotischer Volker (Munich: Piper Verlag, 1922); Herbert Kiihn,

Die Kunst

1923);

and Eckart von Sydow, Die Kunst der

Naturvolker t4nd der Vorzeit (Berlin: Propylaen-Kunstgeschichte, 1923). Albers

likely familiar

with

See Troy, "Anni Albers:

all

of these books.

The

Significance of

Ancient American Art for Her

Albers described multiweave construc-

tions within the context of

New

During the

Weimar Bauhaus

most

Art, trans. Esther Allen (Austin:

University of Texas Press, 1996). 7.

(Leipzig

and other members of the Bauhaus were

and Cesar Paternosto,

The Stone and the Thread: Andean Roots

ofAbstract

i

Berlin: leubner Verlag, 1911;

der Primitiven (Munich: Delphin-Verlag,

Words: Alternative Literacies in Mesoamerica

and the Andes (Durham: Duke

Beitnige zur Viilkerkunde, vol.

Barbaren und Klassiker: ein Buch von der

pp. 409-48; Rebecca Stone-Miller, To

Museum of Fine Arts

Darstellungen,"

York: Johnson Reprint, 1968).

texts that discuss the subject

as a social

Co., 1906);

Ehrenreich, ed., Baessler-Archiv:

P.

and

Albers Foundation archives, pp. 49-51.

&

Asher

Schmidt, "Uber Altperuanischc

"American Craftspeople Project," Oral

York; transcript in

publications:

Das Totenfeld von

Stiibel,

English as The Necropolis at Ancon in Peru

5.

Albers, Orange, Conn., Jan.

New

Annelise

Fleischmann) suggested that modern

Kunstmuseum Bern; Cologne: Dumont, 1998); and "Andean

2.

diss..

Sigrid

Wortmann Weltge, Bauhaus Textiles (London: Thames and Hudson, 1993). 9.

Kiinsllerfreunde

(exh. cat.; Bern:

Textiles at the Bauhaus:

Master's thesis, University of

am

University of

Josef Helfenstein and Henriette Mentha, eds., Josef und Anni Albers,

Bauhaus-Archiv,

"Bauhaustextilien 1919-1933," Ph.D.

Publications, 1997); "Anni

die Icxtilkunst der

.SVoZz/ (Berlin:

Bauhaus, Anni Albers, Zwischen Kunst

und Leben,"

(Ann Arbor,

at

Hopkins

Maria Jocks, "Eine Weberin

Ancient American Art for Her

Mich.:

weaving

Bauhaus include Anja

University, Baltimore, 1994; M.igdalena

1987); Petra

University, Atlanta, 1997

to repeat at lease

Baumhoff, "Gender Art and Handicraft

following essays by Virginia Gardner

The

texts that discuss the at the

further discussion of these topics, see the

Troy: "Anni Albers:

I

the Bauhaus," Ph.D. diss., Johns

open weaves and her

Albers's

Recent

8.

workshop

references in Albers's pictorial weavings,

and she

easily

weaves and

Woven and

Pedagogical Work," pp. 37-44 and 65-74. II.

Albers joined the Bauhaus in 1922,

taking the preliminary course with

Muche Itten's

at that

Georg

time and then Johannes

course in 1922-23. In 1923, her third

semester, she joined the weaving workshop.

During her fourth semester,

in

1923-24,

she assisted in the dye laboratory, and in her

fifth

semester, in 1924, she most likely

quadruple weaves. ... In ancient Peru,

completed her

double weaves

complicated designs were

took Vasily Kandinsky's "thcor\' of form"

weaves have been found,

course during the 1925-26 semester.

made, and .IS

in

triple

well as a small quadruple piece. If a

highly intelligent people with no written

September

to

first

wall hanging. She

December

1929, she

From

was

act-

ing director of the weaving workshop. After

37


graduating

1930 Albers worked indepen-

in

dently and again served briefly (during the

of 1931)

fall

as director

of the weaving

Albers had purchased Klee's Two Forces

{Zwei Kraft, 1922)

The

in 1924.

Josef and

Anni Albers Foundation generously provid-

me

ed

with

information.

this

Neil Welliver, "A Conversation with

13.

Anni

Albers,

1967, p.

"

and Graphic Art of

it

in Klee, Notebooks,

The

p. 241.

November

lesson

1923,

Composition" was included

is

not

and

it

in the

same

(The dates of lessons are not always

clear in the

two published volumes of

1925),

Albers

held

at

was

Toni Ullstein Fleischmann,

member of this prominent

a

handbook,

a

copy of

which included

20.

A summary

of the Alberses'

travels fol-

Havana;

Mexico;

lows: 1934, Florida, 1936,

Mexico; 1937, Mexico; 1938, Florida;

1939,

Mexico; 1940, Mexico;

New

his earlier

in

classroom

published

Mexico; 1967, Mexico. This

from documents held

piled

Mountain College

Papers,

Anni Albers Foundation 21.

York:

in

Anni

Pre-Columbian

and

art

began

Germany,

in

museums

there. Nicholas

The

Josef

Fox Weber,

The

Albers Foundation

in Berlin already

Museum

the largest col-

it

Art,

American

which

Museum,

Major donations of Andean

art to

(see Karl

in

1899 and the Reiss and

is

acquired 2,400 items in 1882

Hudson

from Cuzco

in 1888

ancient American pieces to the 1907.

collec-

and the Bolivar

Wilhelm Grctzer

col-

sold 27,254

museum

in

Immina von Schuler-Schomig, "The Andean Collections at the Museum

Central fiir

Volkerkunde, Berlin, Their Origin

and Present C^rganization,"

Hocquenghcm, Collections in

ed.,

Anne-Marie

Pre-Columbian

1987), pp. 163-65. See

Corinna Raddatz, "Christian Thcodor

Wilhelm Gretzer and

his

Pre-(^olumbian

Collection in the Niedersiichsisches

Landesmuseum of Hannover,"

38

in the

and Anni

Mexican Miniatures: The Josef and Anni

The Anni

Pre-Columbian

Andean

York: Praeger, 1970],

Textiles (comprised of 113

textiles),

which

is

now

the Josef

at

Harriett Englehardt

Memorial Collection

of Textiles (comprised of ninety-two textiles

purchased by Anni Albers for Black

Mountain

College),

which

is

now housed

University Art Gallery. Bl.ick

Mountain College

Papers, vol.

2,

box

8;

and Troy, "Anni Albers: The Significance of Ancient American Art for Her

Woven

and Pedagogical Work," pp. 163-69. 22.

same

[New

Albers Collection of

and Anni Albers Foundation; and The

at Yale

European Museums (Budapest:

Akademiai Kiado, also

in

and

Anni Albers Foundation

of Pre-Columbian Art [New York:

p. 4);

lection in 1904.

Peabody

at the

Hills Press, 1988], p. 9,

and subsequently the tion

Josef and

Taube, The Josef and Anni Albers

Collection

Albers Collection

Centeno

collections

The

now housed

from Dr. Jose Mariano Macedo of Lima, large

main

art:

Albers and Michael Coe, Pre-Columbian

Stubel donation of 2,000 items in 1879.

The museum

in 1939 after

Yale University Art Gallery,

Josef and

at the

of 11,690 items

Toni and

Anni Albers Collection of Pre-Columbian

at the

included the Baessler donation

father,

met Josef and Anni

Alberses had three

Europe

museum

the

Volkerkunde

fur

owned more than 7,500 making

textiles,

lection of these textiles in

time.

Toni

Nazi Germany.

of ancient

archives.

1907, the

mother and

Veracruz in 1937 and again

in

The Josef and Anni

Andean

1939, see

and Anni Albers Foundation

Siegfried Fleischmann,

fleeing

By

and

in 1937

English transcript, translated by

video interview with Anni Albers, 1984,

18.

Mexico

archives. Anni's

that she frequently visited the ethno-

graphic

archives.

Fleischmann's grandson Theodore Benfey, in

21.

Albers remarked in 1984 that her interest

17.

North Carolina

Ullstein Fleischmann's 1937-39 travel diaries;

Welliver, "A Conversation with

16.

was com-

list

in the Black

For information regarding the Alberses'

trips to

Praeger, 1953).

Albers," p.

1953, Chile,

and The Josef and

State Archives, Raleigh,

in English as Pedagogical Sketchbook, ed.

Moholy-Nagy (New

Mexico;

1941,

Mexico; 1949,

Walter Gropius and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, trans. Sibyl

1935,

Peru; 1956, Mexico, Peru, Chile; 1962,

Piidagogisches

The handbook was

publishing

family.

Mexico; 1952, Mexico, Havana;

Anni Albers owned

Skizzenbuch (published by the Bauhaus

exercises.

(Much of Albers's The Josef and Anni Foundation.) Schmidt's Kunst und

now

is

1946-47, Mexico,

Klee's notebooks.)

Klee's classroom

and she owned the 1934 French

Kultur von Peru was published by Ullstein;

assumed that "Constructive Approaches

Josef and

25,

images of other Andean

as well as

Albers's mother,

on structure

follows his lessons

dated Saturday, 10

series.

Lindenfeld,

4, 1996;

included numerous images from Lehmann's

library

Heinz Norden (New York:

Wittenborn, 1973),

to

Page and Lore

Kadden Lindenfeld and former colleague Tony Landreau. (Letters to the author

edition of d'Harcourt.

Two: The Nature of Nature, ed. Jiirg

SpiUer, trans.

is

which he

"Constructive Approaches to

dated, but

Don

former students

textiles,

Composition," appear Vol.

she taught

Black Mountain College, according to

at

book,

Albers, p. 19.

titled

when

1996.) Albers's personal slide collection

Klee's notes for this lesson,

15.

und

Schmidt's extensive Kunst

Kultur von Peru (1929),

Nov. 20, 1996; and Landreau, Sept.

15.

Date," in The Woven

Anni

Max

from Page, Sept.

Craft Horizons, July-Aug.

Nicholas Fox Weber, "Anni Albers to

14.

Albers used Lehmann's book, as well

19.

as

workshop. Droste, Guiita StolzL pp. 143-55. 12.

publication (pp. 169â&#x20AC;&#x201D;75).

is

A

cotton Chancay in Albers's collection

particularly striking because

it

is

one of


the few fully finished pieces that she owned. It

has four finished edges, or selvages, and

although

due

become somewhat

h,is

it

to wear,

approximately the

is

distorted

size of a

standard sheet of paper (seven by eleven

On

inches).

would have appreciaicd work and

the completeness ol this

the repetition ot the

Albers and Coe, Pre-Columbian

23.

Designing. In

how Andean

the

"Artist

with Albers, juiv

like borders." Jacob,

Weaver

per

as Artist," p. 93. 11,

Welliver, "A Conversation with .â&#x20AC;˘Xnni

Albers," p. 22. Albers frequently referred to

work

as a

way

as a

method ol working,

approach

for her to

possibly

the level of

rise to

art

"\Xbrk with Materials" (1937),

and

to

Weave for

proposed that the weavers

in Albers,

On

.1

tcxiile scholar

her solution to this problem was

se,

advanced It is

for the time.

likely that Albers

De

the journal

was familiar with

trom her Bauhaus

StiJl

and

years. In addition, she

owned

Josef

of Neo- Plastic Art, edited by Theo van Doesburg and published by the Principles

Bauhaus

Albers,

art.

her article

have produced a large web. C'onsidering

35.

her pictorial

in

Colonial

in Inca

that Albers was not

"Anni Albers:

1985, p. 43. 27.

Susan Niles.

itself.

and Empire

used a hinged loom, which would also

described the side

Polsky, interview with Albers, Jan.

26.

loom

yielded

it

ot greater dimensions than

the Sun, p. 56,

portions ot these two weavings as "margin-

A Modern

when unfolded,

web

Textiles," in Stone-Miller, To

5,

3.

Mary Jane Jacob

25.

must have been woven .iccordion-

style so that,

a single

2.

Fesci, interview

weavers were able to weave

technique on frame looms; each plane

Mexican Miniatures: The Josef and Anni

1968, p.

in

Albers investigated

concluding that the weavers must have

Albers Collection, p. 24.

it,

widths ot cloth on hand looms,

ot warps

grid formation.

fish in

On

was subsequently published

it

utilized a triple- or quadruple-layer

the supplementar)'-weft

technique. Albers

and

large

rwcnty-five cuttlefish were

it,

woven using

correspondence with Bird,

after a lengthy

Albers

in 1925.

is

said to have liked

van Doesburg's work, and ma)' have met

DÂŤ;^;///f (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan

him

Universit)' Press, 1971, 1987), p. 52.

Conversation with Nicholas Fox Weber,

Anni

Albers, introduction, in

28.

Pictorial Weavings (exh. cat.;

MIT

Mass.:

Press, 1959), p.

from Chai'in

Hudson,

Thames and

Inca (London:

to

11,

On

Albers,

Weaving,

p. 68.

For this technique, the cloth was

32.

woven with

a short vertical

warp and long,

pattern-carrying weft threads in the hori-

Thus

zontal direction.

Andean weaver

the

was oriented "sideways"

to the final design,

a feat that required great mental dexterity. See Stone-Miller, To

and

visual

Weave for

Klee's Carpet

of Memory

(

1966.

See Rebecca Stone-Miller, "Camclids

Huari and Tiwanaku

in

Textiles," in

Richard Townscnd,

Ancient Americas (exh.

of Chicago, 1992),

(Cambridge, Mass.: Ml'F 37.

A

Teppich der

Klee, edited

by Margaret

and expanded access to

in 1945.

Susanna Partsch, Paul Klee

(Cologne: Benedikt Ttschen, 1993), In the

the

same year

major

first

that Albers

p. 28.

wove Two

De StijI exhibition was Museum of Modern Art

presented at the in

New York.

It

is

likely that Albers

the exhibition, becau.se

was

New

at

saw

the time she

was revised

Miller,

Albers had easy

numerous exhibitions

of Klee's

and museums

in galleries

in

New

York. For example, sixty works by Klee

from January

and then turned

Press, 1990).

Museum of Modern Art in The accompanying catalogue, Paul

1941.

were exhibited

34.

p. 336, for

held at the

Erinnerung, 1914), for example, was originally

horizontally.

The

memorial exhibition was

large Klee

made

in a vertical direction

ed..

Chicago: Art

cat.;

a discussion of Andean abstraction. For a

work

the Sun, p. 38. 33.

18,

death in 1932.

his

summary of De Stijl, see Yve-Alain Bois, "The De Stijl Idea," in Painting iis Model

1985, pp. 45-46. 31.

36.

Institute

1995), p. 212.

Polsky, interview with Albers, Jan.

30.

Nov.

and Chaos

3.

An of the Andes

Rebecca Stone-Miller,

29.

Albers:

Cambridge,

Ciermany before

in

at the

to

Buchholz Gallery

February

one works were exhibited Art Circle trom April to 38.

A

pictograph

is

1951, at

May

a sign

and

the

thirt)'-

New

1952.

with figurative

references, as Albers used in

Monte Alban.

In titling Pictographic, however, she

used the term the

more

in a

work does not

general way, as

refer to

an external

York regularly to conduct

figurative subject but rather to the notion

research with the

Andean

and the image ot mark-making.

Junius B. Bird

the

visiting

at

textile scholar

American

Museum

of Natural History. Correspondence

39.

Flcischmann describes

between Junius B. Bird and Anni Albers,

40.

February and March 1952, Junius B. Bird

Textile

Papers,

American

Histor)-,

New

Albers wrote

on the

Museum

of Natural

York. at least

Albers,

purchase

"Handweaving Today

Work

The Weaver 41.

one scholarly

this

in her travel diaries, p. 24.

Albers,

at

Black Mountain College,"

G, no.

On

i

(Jan. -Feb. 1941), p.

Weaving,

p.

3.

69.

article

subject of Andean weaving tech-

niques, "A Structural Process in Weaving,"

written in 1952 for a course she attended at Yale Universir)-, which was taught by

George Kubler. Albers

revi.sed

the essay

39


llUilil!|||UiirfiiÂŤKBraWB|a illlil

llllllifllllillfl

36. UntitUcL 1934.

Rayon, linen, cotton, wool, and 53.3

X

116.8

cm

(21

X 46

inches).

Collection of Mrs. John Wilkie,

New York

jute,


37-

Ancient Writing, 1936.

Rayon, 149.8

X

linen, cotton,

and

jute,

cm (59 X 43 % inches). Museum of American Art,

III

National

Smithsonian Institution,

Washington, D.C., Gift of John

Young

1984.150.

41


Monte Alban, 19^6. Silk, linen, and wool, 146 X 112 cm (57 X X 44 inches). The Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, 38.

Cambridge, Massachusetts, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Richard G. Leahy

BR

42

81.5.


39- L'^

I^'iiz /,

1947.

Cotton, hemp, and metallic gimp,

47 X

82.5

cm

(18

X X 32X

The Josef and Anni

inches).

Aibers Foundation,

Bethany.

43


" "" „„__ iiaxjxtaitirtttixiittm «

'

timmtaixuitxi^avm

)

•'txtxttTxS.ixtatafzi',

„ -__

»"HISISt;rtr7iTVTTiiijjTtiriuUHtioM«MlMlli:XMTira:i[UiW<«IMM»(lui»iTr»iwi(rtiti^^

uxit tijiitrttt I ^ ^

Ww .:;tv i;iM-J

..r;i;t

40. Untitled, 1948. Linen

and cotton,

cm (16 Xx 19 X inches). The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Edgar Kautmann, Jr. Fund 41.9

X

49.5

200.50.

44


^mii,t:

amauisi'aviitaamr,ยงt KiBatiBtiian t^^nyii JKi'-na* it i li'ii i i if

-<< โ€ขjaa;

41. Cityscape, 1949. Bast

44.5

X

67.3

cm

{ij'A

and cotton,

X 26X

inches).

Collection of Ruth Agoos Villalovos.

45


i|iiiiumiMati»»»HHinn;jmiK"«"»""<»B'"*fl"'l*"""^'^'"'-?"'^'»»™«<!<f6; liiiMihtiiwnltlllHHHliilniiiinmaHiMiiiiittttlllinHinnmittiiirininiKi^fcr.

KimuiimtiiiiiitiriMintMiaTTm rtS^SiiB .ir.^T imr[( n tflgaKHmunHH^Kimirrnir TrtTiiimtrir ^'yrr

T«ft

!

rn

^'.^

1

1

r

1 1

r^

PWCf svii«H*^»>.*.«i.>>»?5r?!^3ni!::«

!n'Bg^irnmiwiffTjmtniiiiiiffimiitiiiiwniinf)iipTn^ .

^

htitJiiteaMymfltimHm^HMU^^

.

:,„^u^.,,^

T'

i!tiiwi( )Ui iUi iBiia«>^w^ii(ilitii)W'feu^3iff)(taHtt« ----^fa*r'^tur»iit>Wi|fotttljitllMl»tiiilnmiTitT M»| li l »|BkutlUUttm^^ i

-tg<^"g^Hntminni.<Bg t«ttmiT ft |

i

JT^^g'-

.

..

'niiiniTiniijiitifriiiiiiiiiinrTi

Mimmimmxtuiumunw

lUmmtluniTJ?

,

g

affirmnitiiHMiii,

.^

„,

i^S-SfSKJTtn^lWtfti'.

'S

'

;«Mtln)r

iiiii.iimdi'

!i;iiH»niiJM|MMrt!||(ajj|«||i|nii»MiiimMjt i

~

'mumminiinumavaiciitif

illllllllV-'u

jIimtltlltntlHXlTUlTOlKKKi iuiiiiiiJui.ixiiini«i"nmtTOnuiijmii<(i,

-ii.i.iii.v

iim i mswiiwftwtii

,

'

lifitTTTrinri-iTmninnitTm [iimiTjjiir

.ttttpiiitiiUiUiuaaixl&iMuiUfiiwU^^

ijMIH

H.li.'iimMjJnnHiiBDDniii '""•"--"'[

^"'^'";;''rTltllflTrnTiTinit»llllirnrinnli

' , i

iritrMlttn<h1ilMli|(igi"iiirf^

ininriiminff^!itWniuiHmttftiryR)tHin>iHi!!!;rTnirn:

iiiiitni-

-^.^

tn.niiTffTrnOTPinnfflTOiHiiHiiifimnfjHiwM'MiiitTirnmiiw

iiotaiatoi

fniimniHiiiiiii .iinmin»iiiTiiMimiij5iri)iilll5nt«KH331i;

i.W1iy[MiKa«ri]|iWwyn[iihii. *MTHiijiniiHJiiKHij

'

'mnmninimimi WSSWWMTtttftf tttliB!

miirirattil iiiiUJCEffli:

mttj^iHifrtmnniainramrrninrriT zf([U]niTnnin«Htnmiiiiir!H{i iHHill

mwmnrmwf XJttyrtfc

ata-fiin

IflttimfflijIUmw 1 J JB7ini:W»»WMMSm( rill ITOJUliTpiJiTntl 1

^

-^«j„.^«,,.,...

,.,.,p..^

tqik

reiriKJIJOrBB;!; .„».....™..,„

,.-..JiwiDaJ,TOMfiiHniminTO^w«iiH«iiTinn»^i'3iSxmmin\a

^

42. Black-White-Gold

Cotton, 63.5

X

jute,

48.3

L 1950. and metallic ribbon,

cm

(25

X

The Josef and Anni Bethany.

46

19 inches).

Albers Foundation,

,,,^


Vl

ini

;t' '•'1

»t

r.T

li

nV '

,

It

!

"

ll> »»'

'

'^i

91

i

'^V'

^

f?

« jp

i^i I rt>

;

-

•« •!>*

Vi

^

5

=

rr

f^

'J^f

^^^nm'! ^3

{V*

I"

'^

HI'

f'vT

^r'.;^V

^'

I

c

JKIt

;;,iS.

— IT

;^!'jr??3l-ir':/l-

1*.

hlh H,'..K.)I"4.

:v\^3;

43.

Development in Rose

I,

1952.

Cotton and hemp, 57

X

The

43.8

cm

X(. X 17X inches). Anni Albers Foundation,

(22

Josef and

Bethany.

47


â&#x20AC;˘Ul!!!; wi

44. Tivo, 1952. Linen, cotton,

46.4 X 104

cm

(18

K X 41

and rayon,

inches).

Anni Albers Foundation, Bethany, Gift of John Norton and Lucia N. Woodruff

The

48

Josef and


45. Untitle/^, 1950.

Cotton and

bast,

X 38.1 cm (25/^ X 15 inches). Cunningham Dance Foundation, 64.8

New

York.

49


Red Meander, 1954. Linen and X 50 cm (25 % X 19 % inches). Collection of Ruth Agoos Villalovos.

46.

cotton, 65

50


47- Pi^y

of Squares,

1955.

Wool and linen, 87.6 X 62.2 cm (34X X 24X inches). The Currier Galler)' of Art, Manchester,

New

Hampshire,

Currier Funds 1956.3.

SI


WiiT" TMnHffi lig i

J

»>iitw«(»itimiii» *«!•""'!'''*

^^

ii ii

ii^

P^|iiPMWPS:S;?5^

«?l 1««::j:-^':^^|eMj[-

tiMimmi-

Pf^=.=:=ii

MM

isi

mtu :mi^iB

'

ii«iiHiii»»»*.:

->v^,' V

U

It

yxJt

filll,:

iilMlAlMMWl 4 U

I/.I

'j)iii;i;s«:

a»i|MS;lli«t IIHpf Hi"

am ^^^^¥.-'iim: imii

>'*^.

MHIWlAiiUll

^

»a;"':: '«j,^ »»»>«.:;

..^.>r,

.

v^ItIW

,....„.„.„

m WW

-

\i».iv»/

**^*-z::i=siAw ««««

^i"**'

jir-r*'

f'«K'S' '«'''

I'll"!'

i3Si(

ZSilSS"*^""

^"~~;

.icjaE;

•M'WWKW """

"

"""

"*

'

'

.-

..,•«..<•,.•,,

..... ..V.V.W.M.V-

...V.VWfr..,;..

;

l;^?;m

-i;w;rtiV .v/.V.V.Vif,....

__ __^^,,

-

..

.•."/.../././..„ „

:

J.i^a:i;,^^S ,V.'.V.>.V,Vf..l^....,„„., ,./...',v;,',VA.

>.'iSV.v.v

miiiiiiiiiil

"

""

^ii^Uj^^Hi^^

48. I htckly Settled, 1957.

and

jute, 78.7

X 62 cm

Cotton

(31

X 24K

inches)

Yale University Art Gallery,

New

Haven, Connecticut,

Director's Purchase

52

Fund

1972.83.

....


:HS||;fHl^fjp@||HSi;!mmB?flP^

49. 58.4

The

Open Letter, 1958. Cotton, X 59.7 cm (23 X 23X inches). Josef

and Anni Albers Foundation,

Bethany.

53


50. In the Landscape, 1958.

Cotton and 29.5

X

98.5

jute,

cm

(11 /ÂŤ

X

38

"A<,

inches).

Collection of Dt. William and

Constance G. Kantar.

51. South of the Border, Cotton and wool,

1958.

10.6 X 38.7 cm (4 Mr, X 15 /f, inches). The Baltimore Museum of Art,

Decorative Arts and Contemporary Crafts

Fund

1959.91.

54


52. Pasture, 1958.

cm

Mercerized cotton,

X 15% inches). 39.4 The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 35.6

X

New

[i^Yu.

York, Purchase,

Moore,

Jr.,

Gift, 1969

Edward C. 69.1^5.

55


Red and Blue Layers, 1954. Cotton, X 36.8 cm (24 X 14X inches). The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, 53-

61

Bethany, Formerly collection of

Mrs. Eleanor Grossman.

56


vv.\

..WW'.

••.'vV.'-.''.

..

.

/iMaavaafP':

W««*«"api'^>'

m'IH'

*•»' lU'Jiji'JiifVi

^

vy;

,tT'ii#ii'iiflil|JPRp-""^^f'

"'"'" '^"'ii/

//I

ir«^

O:

'f if

T

1^ f p » f r ffipFf

Frow rA^- East, 1963. Cotton and 65.4 X 42 cm (25 X 16M inches). 54.

The

Josef and

plastic,

Anni Albers Foundation,

Bethany.

57

:

r f

I

fii

n


55-

Variation on a Theme, 1958.

Cotton, linen, and 87.6

X

77.5

cm

plastic,

(34;/

X

30/<inches)

Collection of Dr. and Mrs.

Theodore

58

Dreier,

Jr.


i.

"••

•5..:5.*i5i::2'"*' •

^•iiiB«i«ai«iia«iia«iriiBWitBapii"?|

V*

^

*«**••'"»•

'

yV

56.

'

'

11

Haiku, 1961. Cotton, hemp,

cm

X 7X

57.2

X

The

Joset and Anni Albers Foundation,

18.4

Bethany.

{ii'A

57.

Code, 1962. Cotton,

hemp,

and metallic thread,

and metallic thread, inches).

cm

58.4

X

The

Josef and

18.4

(23

X 7K

inches).

Anni Albers Foundation,

Bethany.

59


58. Intersecting,

1962.

Cotton and rayon, 40 X 42 (15%,

X

cm

i6'A inches).

Collection of Katharine and

Nicholas Weber.

60


s^M)smtsr?tt.

59.

Liuicr Way, 1963.

Cotton, linen, and wool,

74 X 61.2 cm (29 'A X 24/* inches) Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution,

Washington, D.C.,

Bequest of Joseph H. Hirshhorn, 1986.

61


»ffli!,s^^^!«i;uKiS^i^^^

Wll(i^^^ -^•'VtWt

6o. 5zx Prayers, 1966-67. Cotton, linen, bast,

The

Jewish

Museum, New

and

•,.T.'-tmiM

IMWMIII

>

'

-II

silver thread; six panels, 186

York, Gift of Albert A. List Family JM149-71-6.

62

"^

"""7

x

-'"'

50

cm

(73

X<,

x

19

% inches)

each.


iliiii:

iiii

SiliiS^^^^

IIIIB

;il»i«M*iun(ii[uil!utiMt<u:

a^""''',m

63


On

the Structure of the Weavings

5*c

^^

-!*

• «e %

Jean-Paul Leclercq

6i.

Detail of Two, 1952 (see cat. no. 44).

pattern width

Two

(1952) presents a strictly orthogonal

brown and

pattern in dark

are several right-angle direction changes,

but the entire pattern

is

organized around

the basic unit of the square.

The

weave checkerboard ground

in subtly

trasting tones gives the piece

The

result

is

its

plain-

rhythm.

made

Bauhaus;

at the

thus independent of the

Two

pattern in

that

is,

is

formed by an

and the thick white

additional twill float,

weft

The checkerboard ground

perfectly

mate-

illustrates Albers's interest in texture,

and

structure.

While the weave does

not change, variations

appearance are

in

the patterns of those works are also strictly

achieved through the warping, the shuttling

orthogonal, but are built on intersecting

order,

rectilinear strips

of unequal width.

and the binary properties

the plain weave.

The warping

of

warp

cords),

and the

dency

to play

a study

manufactured

in France.' In this eigh-

teenth-century example, the threads are finer

and there

is

no pattern other than the

one produced by the plain weave and the

alternates

viewed

Albers alternately passed a thin black weft

threads, or

one does

in

conducted around 1790 of fabrics

inversions are

if

Albers drew

example among the samples included

warp and weft

determine

fact that

with structure and material.

thinner white thread. During the weaving,

difficult to

its

But she would have found an identical

between a thick dark cream thread and a

is

weave and

these possibilities here reflects her ten-

direction in which the piece should be

In works with abstract patterns, the

by the play

variations (like the addition of weft or

on

every other ground pick

therefore floats to the back, without binding.

rial,

possibilities afforded

of even and odd (or alternating) threads are very important in plain

width.

The

con-

very different from the hang-

ings that Albers

fabric's

There

yellow.

is

The

and the

the height of the pattern,

materials. Yet the evenne.ss

made with two dark

two dark blue

blue

picks, while the

not understand the designer's intentions.

pick and then a thick white weft pick, thus

other threads, in both the weft and the

In Two, Albers indicated the direction by

creating the two different combinations.

warp, alternate between white and pale

adding her embroidered signature

The warp

In the dark squares, the thick dark

at the

work

blue.

Thus

the squares have a dark outline

cream warp binds and covers the thick

and the checkerboard resembles

white weft, and, conversely, the fine black

on the

lengthwise, in the direction of the warp,

weft can easily be seen because

twigs. Blue

but has a transversal pattern, to be read

to the front

lower right.

in this

is

hori-

was woven

zontal, not vertical; the piece

uncommon,

weftwise. Although generally

goes

it

above the thick warp. This

what produces dominant

is

and white

the material

tabby

lines are created

and the weave;

(which resembles

lines in the

a

of baskerwork made of large

scale

in

by

one square

a vertical rectangle), they

direction of the weft that alternate between

follow the direction of the warp, while in

weft direction can be found in the European

black and dark cream. In the light squares,

the next (which resembles a horizontal

tradition, such as the mid-fitteenth-century

the thick white weft

examples of textiles with

altar-front pieces

a pattern in the

comprised of

a single

horizontally, with a very large pattern

which binds the

made of a

single

comber

eightcenth-ccntury

unit. Patterns

found

textiles in

woven

in

which the

two or more

bands within the width of the such

cases, the

width of ihc

fabric. In

fabric

front,

becomes

set apart

keeping

it

fine black weft

rectangle), they follow the direction of the

when

on the

rather hidden.

The checkerboard

in late-

pattern has a top end intended for furniture borders; these are

is

it is

above the thick dark cream warp,

it

in the weft direction are also

bound only by

the thin white warp, but

width of figured gold brocaded velvet used

unit

is

pattern

is

one square

to

another

accomplished by warping two consecu-

tive threads

from the same warp;

direction of the warp,

it

is

in

the

executed during

weaving, with two consecutive picks of the

64

same

weft.

result

is

a fabric that appears to

and warp threads

as these squares

and bound

in

as

wide

the form of

weave.

created

In the direction of

the weft, going from

The

consist of weft

a plain is

very simply, by inverting evenness at the

end of each square.

weft.

I.

Registre d'Enqucte Industrielle, Toiles et

Mu.see de

Toileries (Paris, ca. 1790),

Mode

et

du

Textile, Palais

Union Centrale des Arts

la

du Louvre,

Paris,

Decoratifs, p. 329.


62. Detail

of La Luz

/,

1947 (see

cat. no. 39).

brocading

not on top of the binding sys-

is

tem, but rather introduces

At

first,

La Luz I (1947) seems

graphic quaht)' that

work and

Albers's

is

have

to

a

foreign to the rest ot

Bauhaus

to the

own

its

system,

reasons, but in these

weave on

been

several consecutive picks.

its

symmetrical pattern suggests a cross

the pattern, AJbers played with both the

some

material and the weave; the

The

eagle.

piece's scale,

as

an

however, allows us

to perceive the individual play of threads,

with twelve warp threads and seven picks per centimeter.

The

varies greatly, as the thick

weft

is

in this

brownish-yellow

processes used by Albers

work can be found

later in

cailigraphic-stir'le "pictorial

This

is

wider

in the

in the

warp

it

weh

number

approximately half a centimeter

Some of the

wide.

latter

appears

at

plain strips,

weft direction than

The

the top and

it is

bottom

in the

comes from the warp

twill (3/1,

S direction), with the space between threads giving the textile a

But elsewhere

it

warp

dominant

weft.

varies, ver\' irregularly in

area

weave variations

seeming

to

remove any

textiles,

repetitions. Irregularities are created

through weaving by the inclusion ot additional wefts in certain areas,

where they

on the back,

rather than

to get to

weaving on the

which

is

of Albers's "pictorial weavings.

"

process,

used in

The

thread from one pick to the next, exposing

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;which,

such as

.-Mbers,

sometimes crossed

thus introducing a local binding .system

(in

between two ground

10 the

are the

kinds of liberties allowed by tapestr\' work as

it

wa.s practiced

by the Copts. Ihe

its

horizontal

in other pieces

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

or even vertical lines

which case the weft thread runs

warp

lines to

be

by

Frotyt the East (1963), are

other warp threads float freely to the back,

These

all

process

accentuates the continuirv' of the weft

vertical course as well as

parallel

thread). For these shapes

visible, the scale

and

of the weft

thread in relation to the pattern and to the textile has to be large

enough

for the

course of a single thread to be seen, as it is

in Albers's

Haiku (1962),

(1961),

Black-White-Gold I (i^^o).

Code

(1962), Intersecting

and From the

The technique

continuitv' of the weft thread

pick to the next

is

a

is

from one

hidden feature and

a violation ot a

premise of Western

next

its

Andean

front, this

practiced today,

is still

or along the selvages, where the

pattern weft thread does not integrate

which

starting point. Technically facilitated by

oblique lines

weave by

European examples, these returns

does not have a prominent graphic quality,

main pattern, the brocaded

cading wefts are bound

picks.

else-

are obtained through material,

its

threads, while the

too fine for

into the selvage weave. In such works, the

and

one. This produces rounded shapes,

in plain

much

file is

graphic quality to have been utilized.

In other

brocading wefts. In some places these bro-

warp

an element

appear more often on the backs of the

the ground, and there are also additional

several consecutive

its

thread repeatedly returns on the front,

long

seems to have

integration ot the brocading and with

In the

basic weave, as

it

varied shuttling order competes with the

wcavings.

a short, horizontal piece,

direction.

and the gold

grounds

by the use of complex or uneven thread.

her

works

a constraint, rather than

of the pattern; the patterns are figurative

Despite the general simplicity ot

aesthetic:

of symbolic bird, such

thread brocaded elements for technical

using the same warp threads as the ground

or

sort

used in fifteenth-century velvets with gold-

East.

of placing the returns

of the brocading thread on the front was

65

fundamental

textiles.


ijr^M.::

'm-'^-'^m.

',^'^-^^*

•-?

.•^M...L..<*->':^iir

r-«x./„0M>«^

««)

...

f '3

^'-

f?" ^"^^

^-^ W:''

63. Detail

Sfe«>

pm.tv^^-

1!^ mif «*B»-.--

of In the Landscape, 1958

'

: f»

^i^. _^»

lat

i

changes color according to a tapestry

technique, but

(see cat. no. 50).

it is still

bound by

the

colored warp. In the Landscape (1958), like also a horizontal piece

It

has a striped and banded plain weave,

with brocading that

and

is

shifts

about on the face

With warping

that alternates between

and thick threads

various colors, the textile, which

is

in

loosely

woven, presents a dominant weft, though its

weave appears

to

have a square pattern

because the warp threads bind the weft picks of the

same

and

between

a thick colored weft,

except in the bands at the top and bottom,

where a thick orange-yellow thread used exclusively

is

Elsewhere, the black warp (the

pick),

and

as

odd

odd

both are fine they are rather

inconspicuous. Meanwhile, the colored

warp

(the even thread) binds the colored

weft (the even pick), both of which have

heavy sections. In some

(yG

is

added on the

lat

which

is

tabby.

black warp threads bind the brocading

with the fine black weft simultaneously,

When

it is

bound by

in this way, the

dark blue,

is

areas, the basic

the fine black

warp

brocading pick, which

barely interrupted visually

is

and

appears to be continuous, winding above the squarelike

ground produced by the

plain weave.

This

is

a

good example

uses of a single weave,

of the diverse

which here has been

varied through the unique possibilities offered by the warping, the shuttling order,

and the

local

doubling of one of the two

ground picks with

in the weft:.

thread) binds the black weft (the

The

warp-

material. Like the

ing, the shuttling order alternates a fine black weft

pick

front of the binding system,

with the two passes together in the shed.

vertical in certain areas.

fine black threads

The brocading

La Luz /(1947),

with a short warp.

is

a

brocading pick. This

produces a double tabby weave, which is

typical

of silk

textiles.


:MiiJH»J»ZMliI£

,

'"-VWi

ummMnmu. l2;il»HT1Tgfc

m ravvftjij

iTx;

ttBOSEET

ttumiulirunmi YiimiMni 64. Detail oi Black-White-Gold

brown

variation in the order:

1950

I,

jute pick

gold lamella pick

in the first shed,

(see cat. no. 41).

65. Detail

in the

of

Intersecting,

1962

(see cat. no. 58).

second.

Black-White-Gold I

example ot torial

{\<)so)

is

a

The warping

superb

Alber.s's calligraphic-style "pic-

weavings." Like her La Ltiz /(1947)

and In

the Landscape (1958),

also pre-

is

it

sented in the direction of the warp, but is

it is

its

it

longer in the direction of the warp than in the direction

larger

dimension

of the weft is

that

is,

not horizontal.

Here again Albcrs used

a striped,

distinct use of the curves of

the face.

varies. Similarly, the

the two alternating wefts,

are based

threads: even

have

ways to create a background with squares.

The low

density of the weave

pared to the scale oi the piece

com-

eight

warp

threads and three to tour vveh picks per

centimeter

allows the threads to be read

individually, while the curves

and white brocading picks

The ground weave strips

of

is

patterned in vertical

a single color or a

of two colors

brown and

of the black

are highlighted.

combination

black, black

and white,

brown

—with the

black, or

and

jute

all

and odd

of the

threads,

ot

which

of which have a delicate section; only

odd threads with

a

The

and the

jute are

the white

odd

bound

threads,

is

some

and

in

lamella

when

is

the

The

lamella

by

places

other places

by the black even threads. The

luster

of the

interrupted most emphatically

warp binding

it is

black and wide.

inversion in this piece

is

vertical,

created by t%vo consecutive jute picks,

following the principle of evenness inversions. (Albers's

Two

[1952]

is

an example

of double evenness inversion,

warp and the

in

some

cases lat

but

in others, yielding several inversions

of contrast and

warp

Generally, the

readabilit)'.

both the

weft.)

67

threads, as there

one brocading pick picks;

heasy section; only even

threads with a heasy section.

in

brocaded threads are bound by the same

warp all

brocading on

white, orange, and blue

with the warp thread and ground not

heavy section; even and odd threads,

a

The

brocaded thread contrasts

reveals

four combinations, which

on the section

and brocaded plain weave, playing with the

complex

warp

brown

gold lamella, to varying degrees. As a

warping and shuttling order

in

a particularly

the visibility of the white and black in the

warp

banded, and

Intersecting (\<)6i), a striped,

brocaded tabby, presents

threads, but

because .some are thin and others thick,

result, there are

banded,

between white

alternates

odd threads and black even

there

it is is

ground

is

a

proportion of

for every

rwo ground

tabby hound, however, where

one brocading pick pick.

for every


From

66. Detail of

More

the East, 1963

From

mon

the East {1963) transforms the

com-

look of a warp

twill 3/1

using only

The

pass has

one more pick

shuttling order.

its

ground

pick, the

ing

The

lat.

twill

a lisere

which

weft. This produces a gold lamella binding

warp

the

twill 3/1,

resembling a binding by

same warp threads on

all

picks.

even and odd: the warp

is

prepared with

eight repetitions of a sequence comprised

of eight black threads, eight orange threads, eight white threads, threads.

The

and eight more orange

degree to which the luster

of the lamella

is

interrupted by the bindings

depends on the color of the ends. As is

lamella in the

end the

textile,

which

in this

start

and

work have an

from

width,

its

warp

twill 3/1

weave that

formed with the orange weft, but ues in a pick,

winding fashion,

on the

like a

the place where

The

it

is

contin-

brocading

face (in accordance with

and returns

Albers's favorite principle), it

to

will next replace the

relief has

been enhanced by

the use of the beater in places where the

lamella

bands that

results

the lamella stops where the thick black

The

in the

This

greater than that of the orange

weft passes; this weft then replaces the

ground weave (from which

variations have

each of the orange

that follow. Conversely, like a brocading

weavings," one has to search for the

been made)

lat. is

lamella.

often the case with Albers's "pictorial

like

band formed by the four orange weft picks

lat,

Here Albers was not playing with

and the brocad-

lisere\3.t,

lamella comprises part of the

ground weave,

followed by four picks of a fine orange

in

Albers's violation

is

weft picks, but seems to have an effect like

than the weave: a wide gold lamella, which is

interesting

of the usual distinction between the

(see cat. no. 54).

is

almost absent in a single pick.

higher relief

is

met

two

in

two of the black threads cross

areas,

where

an X.

in

Here two or more small hand shuttles have been used for a single medium, another

all-black weft.

Being supple, the lamella sinks below the bindings, losing

its

flatness

on an appearance similar

and taking

characteristic is

of brocading; only one shuttle

used for a single material

when

it

involves a

ground

lamellas u.sed by embroiderers in the seven-

patterning

lat,

teenth and eighteenth centuries. This

with a shuttle across the entire width of

resemblance, which most likely

the fabric.

can be found as well as in

tradition.

68

in

to the pleated

is

many of Albers's

fortuitous,

works,

examples from Europe's

textile

lat,

a lisere \at, or a weft-

since the passage

is

performed


67- Detail of

Open

Letter, 1958

(see cat. no. 49).

threads; the

threads with irregular sections in this and

applies also to the white weft.

Letter

(i'.)$S) is

based on a plain weave,

with gauze variations

in several areas.

It

a

is

are

rather than in the effect of the threads.

the different weft

Elsewhere, the plain weave brings out

as

an organizing principle

The warping

is

in

her weaving.

composed of a

sequence of r%vo white threads (the

which

a spiral thread) lollowed

is

first

of

by two

in a different

first

two

and contrasting material than

that of the last rwo.

As

a result, the

work

has a two-level, binary a.spect.

There forty-eight

weaving

warping

are twelve

warp threads

units, or

altogether,

of

and warp thread

colors.

The

warp and weft threads

warp

that are not used act

as a visual base for the deviating

white

bound only by

threads that

sveft

the white

threads that are

warp

threads, the

two black

effect

on the other hand,

back; the black areas, are

woven with black weft threads that the black warp threads,

ser\'e as

the gauze.

transparent gauze that involves

arc

is

uncertain since

it

technique used by Albers

floating to the back.

be found

where there

all

the

depends on the surface

the rwo white threads of the warping unit

among

are black

on a white background,

visual

threads and picks, as in this case the effect

under the

In the areas

warp

The

thus better controlled than with a

is

bound only by

rectangles

types,

black and white

woven with

and the

effects are organized in strips

and

textures,

threads: the white areas are

threads of the warping unit floating to the

black threads; hence the warping unit consists of four threads, with the

the color contrast between the

effects in the piece

produced by various combinations of

weaves; for her, textile art lay in the weave,

prime example of Albers's use of the binary

principle, but in reverse,

The many gauze

other pieces, she preferred to play with

Open

same

nature of the thread. Although Albers used

piece. Instances

in the

European

work can

textile tradition;

the gauzes by Tabourier, Bisson et

Cie that were presented

the

of the gauze in this

at the 1889

World

equal width that follow the direction of the

weave becomes an extended tabby with

Fair, for

warp. These strips are divided horizontally

two warp

with green weft and warp gauze on a

at intervals

traverse the

by bands ol plain weave that width ot the

though these bands ceptible, they

The

red

fabric;

even

are practically imper-

produce

a pattern

of squares.

from the brocading pick

is

added

in places to the black

and white of the

warp and the ground

weft. In plain-weave

areas involving

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

thread

its

all

the threads, the spiral

winding quality highlighted

by the two black threads of the warping unit

fabric,

lends a dense gauze look to the

which

is

due not to the texture of

the fabric, but rather to the composite

threads; the white weft

warp threads and the The principle

is

the

bound,

is

by the two black

in alternating fashion,

r^vo

white ones.

same

in the areas

pink background and unused weft threads floating without binding to the back.

with

white rectangles on

a

but here the weft

black instead of white.

is

is

ing alternates between the rwo black warj

thread; the white spiral to the back.

The warp

warp

warp thread

floats

tension causes

the rwo ribs corresponding to the black weft binding to protrude, by a single thread,

which

is

white. Ihe

warp

relief inverts

with the following weft pick, which is

bound on

the face with the

is

both

a red

either white or black that

is

woven

in

in a

tabby with one of the warps. Here the visu-

black and the bin/

threads and the second, thin white

In specific areas, there

brocaded weft and an additional weft

black background,

In the areas with black ribs striped

with white, the weft

example, was a rwo-color piece,

nvo black

69

al

distinction between

brocading pick

is

ground pick and

blurred.


^^l-^^':iK' ViV

68. Textile sample, ca. 1945.

Cellophane and

jute, 91

(35% X 40 inches).

Museum Gift of

70

of Art,

X

101.5

cm

The Metropolitan

New

York,

Anni Albers 1970.75.9.

'^'''^^V\*''A'A\V''^^,\\\m\H


69. lextile sample, ca. i960. Linen,

90 X

133

cm

{35

X X 52 K inches).

The Metropohtan Museum

New

ot Art,

York, Gift of Anni Albcrs

1970.75.16.

71


70. Drapery material, ca. 1935Cellophane, rayon, and cotton,

cm (126 X 32X inches). The Museum of Modern Art, 320

X

82.5

New York,

Gift of the designer

67.75-SC. .1

71.

Drapery material,

Jute

and

X

'JltlTiit

1961.

metallic thread,

cm (48 X 52 inches). The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Gift of the designer 121.9

.-

132.1

68.75-SC.

im

m


Drapery material,

72.

ca. 1948.

Cotton and metallic thread,

mi^mm^Mm

109.2 cm (68% X 43 inches). Museum oi Modern Art,

X

174

'm^"

The

New

York,

(iift

of the designer

63.75.SC.

:^^^(^/'ÂŁ;i^

73. Partition material, ca. 1949.

Cotton,

jute, horsehair,

and cellophane, (59

X X 33X

151

x

85

cm

inches).

The Metropolitan Museum of Art,

New

York, Gift of

1970.75.12.

73

Anni Albers


74- Wall-covering material, ca. 1930.

325.1

X

Linen and cellophane,

119. 4

cm

(128

X 47

inches).

The Metropolitan Museum of Art,

New York,

Gift of Anni Albers

1970.75.4.

75. Textile

sample,

ca. 1935.

Cellophane, cotton, and rayon, 174

X 82 cm

(68 'Ax

}!'/ÂŤ

inches).

The Metropolitan Museum of Art,

New York,

Gift of Anni Albers

1970.75.13.

74


76. Textile sample, 1940. Rayon,

260.4 ^

8'-3

'-"ni

(102 X

X

32 inches).

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New Gift of Anni Albcrs

1970. 75. 11.

75

York,


77- Textile sample, date

Cotton, 28

unknown.

X 20 cm

(11 X 7 /s inches). The Metropolitan Museum of Art,

New York,

Gift of Anni Albers

1970.75.72.

78. Textile sample, date

unknown.

Cotton and wool, 28.5 X 20 cm (11 K X 7 ?{ inches). The Metropolitan Museum of Art,

New York,

Gift of Anni Albers

1970.75.69.

j6


79- Textile sample, dace

unknown.

Cotton and wool, 28.5

X

19

cm

(11

<

X

7 / inches).

The Metropolitan Museum

New

of Art,

York, Gift oi Anni Albers

I970-7S-70.

80. Textile .sample, date

Cotton and 27 X 20.5

unknown.

linen,

cm

(10

%x

S'A inches).

The Metropolitan Museum

New

1970.75.68.

..,./.n'.v.ViV,',v.'.v

..,.,</,'.v,',v.'.',<,«.«,,^^ '

»,

, .

.

.

w

.

I

I

>

>

I

J (

L(

«

I

I

M, ''''•'*•••

"'v.«i'i».v.».'.'»»,t,'.vi

N'ri'iN'i'iVjWi'i'A

'.S'tS'i'.'.'iS'i'iV't'i').

>

»

•.S'.'.'.'.V.'.V.V.V,"""" •'"''"

#

.11 II LLl. I I.I

1.1

... .J

...'•••'' •

".1-1-l.ilV

V^\W^W^hw('l'^''''''

77

ot Art,

York, Gift of Anni Albers


'

8i.

Textile sample, date

Cotton and 28

X

21

cm

unknown.

jute, (11

X

8

^ inches).

The Metropolitan Museum of Art,

New York,

'J^J^^^*>

%».t.t.r.».M.»,».r.#ii.»'."

Gift of Anni Albers

»

<«•

mSmSMfSMSSnmSoSSSaa

1970.75.73.

KaqfflHHHBSBBW

l.Hi>!M.\u.»ii?!J.;!r,;:.^,.:i;,^

ifS«»-B5a«aiUajiMoti3^iii;v

82. Textile

sample, date unknown.

Cotton and 28

X

21

linen,

cm (11X8^

inches).

The Metropolitan Museum of Art,

New York,

Gift of

Anni Albers

1970.75.71. 1(11

I

.

. (

1

« • I

1

n

,

1

I

I

I

I

«

I

I

1

I

I

1

I

I

)

»«

)

(

t

I

I

1

M

<

I

'

,

'^^'l^:.y,^^^^v.^'i.^^!.:i^^:.'.^v,:,^^:.^^y,^:,:,^^^'.^y;,!i^^^^

fl*4MfMtM»*M((M*HM«i

78

t 1,1

";l

111

It


83.

Upholstery material,

ca. 1929.

19.4 cm /% inches). Ihc Museum of Modern Art, New York,

Cotton and rayon,

11.4

X

i^'Ax

Gift of Josef Albers 450.70.61.

84.

Drapery material, date

unknown. Cotton and metal foil, 28 X 44 cm (11 X 17X inches).

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gik of Anni Albers 1970.75.20.

85. Textile

sample,

ca. 1946.

Cotton, linen, and metal

toil,

X 45 cm (13 'Ax i-jYa inches). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 34

New

York, Gift of Anni Albers

1970.75.18.

79


86. Wall-covering material, 1929. Raffia, cellophane,

and

linen,

II. 2 X 23.8 cm (4 X X 9 X inches). The Museum of Modern Art,

New York,

Gift of the designer

426.51.

'«i«w_w>»>ss=a s .^^'

.W.WWa'K'ab'B^

'-^•Mg'«-tW--'»w'g»»fgV»'»W«w - 'a'K<h V-

'tf«WB?'

':i-«'

87. Textile sample, date

••

--'

-;'

;-

'

'

';.

t-eK''i(i-

unknown.

Linen and rayon,

X 26.6 cm

X loX inches). The Museum of Modern Art, 17.7

New York,

(7

Gift of Josef Albers

450.70.62.

!g^?

88.

Wall-covering material, 1929.

Raffia, cellophane,

and

linen,

cm {4'/iX II inches). The Museum of Modern Art, II.

4 X 30.5

New

York, Gift of the designer

424.51.

.UOI

80


89. W;dl-covi.Min<; material, 1929-

SffiSSSSiS^^

Raffia, cellophane,

mmqmMkiitoUii

1

he

and

linen,

cm (4/ X II X Museum of Modern

X

1.4

1

New

30.2

inches).

Art,

York, Cnft of the designer

421.51.

SMawowtt«i»«l^^ OMBWVV nBiwnnniirtninnn.1

Tt^pms. i^f^HrsAHi!^ -1

4

-rj** (*

r1 -

^fc^

^

*~^

after 1933. 15.2

r

Cotton and rayon,

cm (6 X 8 inches). Museum of Modern Art,

X

The

New

20.3

York, Gift of Josef Albers

*

450.70.60.

.I-.V ,-»^'

\

90. Textile sample, prohahly

.

« -'-a

9

91.

Wall-covering material, 1929.

Raffia, cellophane, II.

linen,

cm (4X X 12 inches). Museum of Modern Art,

4 X 30.5

The

New

York,

423.51.

81

and

Ciift

of the designer


,:

92. Wall-covering material,

probably

after 1933.

Cellophane,

cm (5 X X 8 X inches). 13.9 The Museum of Modern Art, X

21

New York,

Gift of Josef Albers

450.70.91.

TT^^tr

Wall-covering material,

93.

probably after 1933. Cellophane,

cm (5 X X 6 X inches). The Museum of Modern Art, 14

X

15.9

New York,

Gift of Josef Albers

450.70.93.

btr ^r n tr 11 -

l^ pit;

ti II

94. Wall-covering material,

probably after

1933.

Cellophane,

cm (4^X 6/^ inches). The Museum of Modern Art, 12. 1

X

New

:-

"*# 11=

:-'

"^

*r-

*F

ft

r

^-

*i^

-

:>

"ifr

,;:

m m^ «r

jft

450.70.92.

:;:

y^

ti

ti^

tt

^

<

tt r *t :vtt? tM^ If; x ## ;^

A1

ft

fV

It

fl

n

I*

tl n s «# «^ ft n ft n W ft It rr-

15.6

York, Gift of Josef Albers

** *i-

- :ti"

ja JLiiiii :ii::it:li:ii:u tt." JK TK^Jt^H!

^a ;

- -fl^'^„;

:

IR' ft

I n n

tr rt

rr

gfV ti rr w *r vr

82

ft

tt

It 1* rr It

#r It rr ft

tt «F If rr tr If tr rr ft 4¥ ft

tt

ft it

n

n

f* tt w^ II

rt-;.j

tt

tt

it ft tt tt tt it ft tt tt tt tt it it it rt rt iti; tt

n n

it

ti

n

If ft. tt ft ft

U

ti

tt

«i^

tt It ff tt tt ft ft tt

tr tt tt *r IK tt tu tr It tr ft tf 1* ft fi^ tt »' rr tt tr tr t» tt tr tt-


95- Textile

sample,

Fiberglass, 19

(7X X

5

x

15

ca. 1948.

The Metropolitan Museum

New

tl;*iÂŤ

cm

X inches). of Art,

York, Gift of Anni Albcrs

1970.75.59-

96. Textile sample, date

unknown.

Cellophane and cotton,

X

22.5

18.5

cm

(8X X 7X inches).

The Metropolitan

New

Museum

ol Art,

York, Gift of Anni Albers

1970.7S-S7-

97. Textile sample, date

unknown.

Cellophane and cotton, 20 X 19 cm (7X X 7/ inches). The Metropolitan Museum of Art,

New

York, Gift of Anni Albers

1970.75.56.

98. Textile sample, ca. 1948.

Fiberglass, 21

x

13.5

(8Xx 5X inches). The Metropolitan Museum

New

York, Gift of

'I

cm of Art,

Anni Albers

i

1970.75.58.

83


99. Textile sample, date

Cotton and (11

X

linen, 28

X

unknown. 21

cm

8 /finches).

The Metropolitan Museum of Art,

New York,

'mi.

Gift of Anni Albers

I970.75-4IC.

100. Textile sample, date

Cotton and

unknown.

linen,

28 X 20.5 cm (11 X 8X inches). The Metropolitan Museum of Art,

New

York, Gift of

Anni Albers

i970.75-4ib-

•"v^r^-x:

sample, date unknown.

loi. Textile

ii:^.

Cotton and

linen,

X 20 cm (10 >( X 7 /s inches). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 27

J-'

#.:'•"

New York,

Gift of Anni Albers

i970.75-4ia.

102. Textile sample, date

Cotton and 27 X 20

cm

unknown.

^

linen, (10

M!

X 7X

The Metropolitan Museum of Art,

New York,

iSP

'J'

i-r

id^

Gift of Anni Albers

i^RliP^

•,!

'

.

,*^^ •

84

.'i^

'

^a^j^

1970.75.43.

'

'vir

inches).


103.

sample, date unknown.

Textile

C^otton and linen, 23

X

18

cm

(9

X -

:(

inches).

The Metropolitan Museum

New

York,

Gih

of Art,

Anni Albers

of

1970.75.61.

104. Textile sample, 1950.

Cotton and 16 X 19

cm

linen,

(loX X

7M inches). The Metropolitan Museum of

New

Art,

York, Gift of Anni Albers

1970.75.60.

mm.

105. lextile

sample,

ca. 1949.

Linen and metallic thread,

X 37 cm (17 X X 14X inches). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 45.5

New

York, Gift of

Anni Albers

SIS 1^;-

1970.75.17.

106. Textile sample, ca. 1959.

Cotton and

cm

linen,

42 X

35

New

York, Gift of Anni Albers

X X 13 K inches). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (16

•»»•*« ••tint'

1970.75.26.

I

mtttiUiiiVi

85


loy. Textile sample, ca. 1951.

Jute

and

metallic thread,

X 17.7 cm (8 % X 7 inches). The Museum of Modern Art, 21

New

York, Gift of Josef AJbers

450.70.74-

108. Textile sample, ca. 1951.

Jute and metallic thread, 24.2

X

16.5

cm

{c)'Ax 6'A inches).

The Museum of Modern

New York,

Art,

Gift of Josef Albers

450.70.72.

109. Wall-covering material,

probably

after 1933.

Cotton and metallic thread, 27.9 X II. 4 cm (11 X 4X inches). The Museum of Modern Art,

New York,

Gift of Josef Albers

450.70.66.

no. Casement material, 1950.

Cotton or synthetic and metal

foil,

cm (11 X 6 X inches). 27.9 The Museum of Modern Art, X

17. 1

New York, 450.70.80.

86

Gift of Josef Albers


111.

Textile

sample,

ca. 1951.

Linen and metallic thread, 25.4 X 17.8 cm (10 X 7 inches). The Museum of Modern Art,

New

York. Gift of Josef Albers

450.70.73.

112.

Textile

sample,

ca. 1951.

Linen and metallic thread, 27.9 X 15.9 cm (11 X 6X inches). The Museum of Modern Art,

New York,

Gift of Josef Albers

450.70.79.

kt-

r

t^

113.

Textile sample, ca. 1933. Linen,

e*ii^::::^vJ^5=^

cm (9x8 inches). The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Gift of Josef Albers 22.8

X

20.3

-«|lt<.'^-'-»U^

450.70.70. 't

"i

>

'>-^: 114. Textile

sample, probably after

;'j'\

XM

1933. Linen, 24.1

(9X X of

8 inches).

Modern

Art,

X

20.3

cm

The Museum

New

York,

Gift of Josef Albers 450.70.71.

^m-^

r-

87

*t(*


Textile sample, probably after

115.

X 26.6 cm X loX inches). The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1933. Silk, 17.7 (7

Gift of Josef Albers 450.70.63.

Wall-covering material,

116.

ca. 1950.

X

29.2

Jute and metallic thread,

12.7

cm

(iiX

X

5

inches).

The Museum of Modern

New

Art,

York, Gift of Josef Albers

450.70.65.

w ^^^sStftrS-kJiSiS:

i vfvii>< ^;v'*^''^!.4>.^j'-V*^

117.

Wall-covering material,

ca. 1950.

29.2

X

Jute and metallic thread,

12.1

cm {n'Ax

^'4 inches).

The Museum of Modern

New York,

Art,

,l!a.^raa ;

^

«.

i.__;

i^^-aa r-TiS

^'TV'^--'^ j*-'^ *

'

fVrsa **^J-^C

^__,

'J-'^^^^'i'

"^ 7\ ~*-*

''^^

-

:r^''

"'f 'l.?J( 5^^P* Pv.i^

Gift of Josef Albers

450.70.64. »-J^ ,^ _" » 1

118.

Evening-coat material, 1946.

,

i

"-.^iS-'^

? t.~B ^^j=

(fWii

J>^.?^

Linen, cotton, and Lurex, 33

X

29.8

cm

(13

X

II

K

inches).

The Museum of Modern

New York,

Art,

Gift of the designer

434-5I-I^J' ''

14i~« i%IC

i

mtm\

'

~ ~

-

^:^ ifrti^ -'

^mMMi^M^.

t^~^^-jSY{'^^

'h^ '^^ if^rr.i^

A.rtj

Hit

FTK^

.^1»1J*^

jT-gc

'R^.,

'

'-


119- Textile

sample,

ca. 1948.

Harnessmaker's thread, 18 X 8 cm {7 'Ax yA inches). The Metropohtan Museum ot An,

New

York,

Clitt ot

Aiini Albcrs

I970.75-77-

120.

Fextile

sample,

ca. 1948.

Harnessmaker's thread, 10.3 X 7.6 cm (4/1. X 3 inches). The Museum of Modern Art,

New

York, Gift of Josef Albers

450.70.100.

121.

Textile sample, ca. 1948.

Harnessmaker's thread, 21.6 X 8.3 cm (8 >^ X 3 ;< inches). The Museum of Modern Art,

New

York, (lih of Josef Albers

450.70.101.

122.

Fextile

sample,

^-%-^~

ca. 1948.

Harnessmaker's thread, 15.9

X

S.i

cm {6Ax }A

The Museum

New

of

'i

Âť^'ryiki/J inches).

Modern

Art,

York, Gift of Josef Albers

450.70.99.

.1

.xi-y-f-^y ff-

"f-^l^^l

89

1^


"

sample, probably after

123- Textile

^Tf'^f^^- .i-yy^'1^

Cotton and metallic thread,

1933.

16.5 X 19 cm (6X X 7X inches). The Museum of Modern Art,

New York,

Gift of Josef Albers

450.70.81.

1 ;^

unknown. X 24 cm

124. Textile sample, date

Cotton and (6

/(.

X

9

7,6

linen, 16

inches).

The Metropolitan Museum of Art,

New York,

A_

•\«»5v.jfc»^

,v^»..

j^,^

fil..-

.,<

ajflr'-' OHT

fjtr-

um£< ,JU^ -^k^

|iTi>"

_^

<•»•. j«io«». rt«?a» «{!»^

ilifi*!

>»—

Gift of Anni Albers

1970.75.42.

^i^^o

dtfe>^

.i»i« t,a«i< Mki^,

»>> aC> bi^ £^^iik^

,x»

filk— •!^».

i—

^ .£rti£r^[^;i&r^

-

-

'

>*k^' W*2^^

dfc-

•«.;»SiS'

125.

«9»*' >^to: fcsr^

wsh

ida-' .js"

ii^v ,««?- ^.^^ ^**> ,a»*..^ -^-.

!*=-

^Ji»i:^>

w^.

jfc-;^-

j41

*^ a^. «^44^. :.s;:dS:^

Upholstery material, 1929.

X

19.7

U'Ax 7 finches). The Museum of Modern

Art,

Cotton and rayon,

New

11. 4

cm

York, Gift of the designer

419.51.

S^Si^ii

90


-\^

"",*'

•.•rrTr:*

i960. Linen,

ca. 53

'

Knitted casement material,

126.

X

39 cni (20 X

X

The Metropolitan

New

15

X inches).

Museum

of Art,

York, Ciih ot Anni Albers

1970.75.22.

127.

Wall-covering material, 1929.

Designed

for the

auditorium

of the Allgemeinen Deutschen Gewerkschaftsbundesschule, Bernau, Germany. Cotton and

X 12.7 cm (9X5 inches). The Museum of Modern Art, cellophane, 22.9

New

York, Gift of the designer

433-5I-

mm Knitted casement material,

128. ca.

i960.

Cotton and metallic thread, 57 X 35.5 cm (22%. X 14 inches). The Metropolitan Museum of Art,

New

York, Gift of Anni Albers

1970.75.21.

129. Textile

Cotton and

X

cm

sample, date unknown. linen,

X 8X inches). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 28

New

21

(11

York, Gift of Anni Albers >

1970.75.62.

,1

,

K

).i .J.

«.»

I.

vV'.V.V.ht .1.1 1'liV'Ni

i.«,V,j.*K«.'«.V.»',V»"''.'i

liJWfl

91


sample, 1950.

130. Textile

Cotton and 32.5

jute,

X 48 cm

(12

HxiS'A

inches).

The Metropolitan Museum of Art,

New York,

Gift of Anni Albers

1970.75. 31a.

131.

Textile sample, 1950.

Cotton and 67.3

X

34

linen,

cm

il6'/iX 13

%

inches).

The Metropolitan Museum of Art,

New York,

Gift of Anni Albers

I970.75-34-

92


I ***4i4«i<a«

V?""""

«••••»**

^ffi^fi .«*l«|l*«« «»4»ltl««

«••«<•••

•••4«»«»-"'

-.

.

«

.

•(•Aiatt*

-

:::::::«

jSgaa lit! ii*«ia«i«

ifaitiMr

•vtatisit

?::5:c

Mt.M, I

,

Jl

»

I

Ml

11

I

•».

I

I

I

"I

•»••«,

1

I

I

••««•»••» **•«*•«•«

'••»«•••.

132. Textile

Cotton and

««««••*••{

sample, 1950. linen,

33 X 34 cm (13 X 13 X inches). The Metropolitan Museum of

New

Art,

York, Gift of Anni Albers

1970.75.32.

93


Constructing Textiles

Anni Albers

Retrospection, though suspected of being the preoccupation of conservators,

can also serve

an active agent. As an antidote for an elated sense of

as

progress that seizes us from time to time,

proper proportion and makes

it

shows our achievements

in

where we have

possible to observe

it

advanced, where not, and where, perhaps, we have even retrogressed. It

thus can suggest

When we

new

areas for experimentation.

examine recent progress

the curious realization that the to a closely defined area

.

.

.

in

momentous development we find is limited new fibres and finishes. While

the process of weaving has remained virtually

unchanged

for

textile

uncounted

about far-reaching changes, greater

changes perhaps than even those brought about through the

mechanics of

to

the creation of

centuries, textile chemistry has brought

in the

we come

cloth-making,

production during the

fast

century.

last

advance

We

find

the core of textile work, the technique of weaving, hardly touched by our

modern

wider area has acutely affected the

age, while swift progress in the

quality as

much

as the quantity

around the center has taken

of our

methods of weaving have not only

place,

been neglected, but some have even been forgotten easy to visualize

It is

how

intrigued, as

of ancient Peru would be in looking over the

been exposed

achievements. production,

He would

at the

the low price.

to

it,

marvel,

of

we can imagine,

He would

weaver

of our day. Having textiles fair

and having judge of our

speed of mass

at the

uniformity of threads, the accuracy of the weaving and

He would

crease-resistant,

enjoy the

new

yarns used

.

.

rayon, nylon, aralac,

.

name some of the most important

admire the materials that are glazed or water-repellant,

permanent pleated, or flame-retarding, mothproof or

shrinkage-controlled and those finishes.

textiles

of time.

as mystified, a

he can be considered a

dacron, orlon, dynel, and Fibreglas, to ones.

in the course

much

to the greatest culture in the history

been himself a contributor

while a development

fabrics. In fact,

made

Even our traditionally used

treated with them.

He would

well as of the chemical

fluorescent ...

fabrics take

learn with

methods of

all

results of

our new

on new properties when

amazement of the physical as which give them their

treating fabrics,

Though our may be surprised unknown to him, as

tensile strength or their reaction to alkalis or acids, etc.

Peruvian to see

critic is

accustomed

new nuances and

to a large scale

of colors, he

often a brilliance hitherto

well as a quantitative use of color surpassing anything he

expert

had imagined.

The wonder of this new world of textiles may make our ancient feel very humble and may even induce him to consider changing

his craft

and taking up chemistry or mechanical engineering. These

are

the two major influences in this great development, the one affecting the

94


quality of the working material, and the other the technique of production.

But strangely enough, he may Hnd that neither one would serve him his specific interest: the intricate interlocking

of two

Concentrating

his attention

now on

this particular

work, he would have a good chance of regaining

monotony would

strange

looked

most

at millions

him. In if

many

in

at right

find

textile

as

he

in the simplest technique. In

one glance the principle of construction,

at

most oi the more complex weaves

his search for inventiveness in

examples to fascinate him.

any,

phase of

his self-confidence.

him and puzzle him, we imagine,

strike

of yards of fabric woven

he would recognize

cases,

and he would even few,

of threads

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;weaving.

angles

A

sets

familiar to

weaving techniques, he would find

He

himself

would

feel that

he had

suggestions to offer.

An

impartial critic of our present civilization

would

attribute this

number of factors. He would point out an age of machines, substituting more and more mechanisms for

barrenness in today's weaving to a that

handwork,

limits in the

same measure the

versatility

of work.

He would

explain that the process of forming has been disturbed by divorcing the

planning from the making, since a product today

no longer

in the

Thus

hands of many,

in the

hands of one. Each member of the production

mechanically his share to control.

is

its

formation according to

a plan

the spontaneous shaping of a material has been

blueprint has taken over.

A

line

beyond lost,

adds

his

and the

design on paper, however, cannot take into

account the fine surprises of a material and make imaginative use of them.

Our

critic

would point out

that this age

promotes quantitative standards

of value. Durability of materials, consequently, no longer constitutes value per se and elaborate

of pleasure.

Our

critic

workmanship

would show

is

a

no longer an immediate source

that a division

between

art

and

craft,

or between fine art and manufacture, has taken place under mechanical

forms of production; the one carrying almost entirely

spiritual

emotional values, the other predominantly practical ones. logical that the

the in

its

has

new development should

making of useful

clarify the role

objects, paralleling the

It is

and therefore

of usefulness

in

development of art, which

process of clarification has divested itself of a literary by-content and

become

abstract.

Though

the weight of attention

is

now

given to practical forms

purged of elements belonging to other modes of thought, aesthetic qualities nevertheless are present naturally

and inconspicuously. Avoiding decorative

additions, our fabrics today are often beautiful, so clear use

of the raw material, bringing out

its

we

believe,

through the

inherent qualities. Since even

95


solid colors istics

might be seen

we

of a material,

Our new

as

an aesthetic appendage, hiding the character-

undyed

often prefer fabrics in natural,

tones.

synthetic fibres, derived from such different sources as

seaweed or lime have multiplied many times the number of our traditionally used fibres. Our materials therefore, even when woven in the simplest techniques, are widely varied in quality, and the number of variations are still increased through the effects of the new coal, casein, soybeans,

finishes.

Yards and yards of plain and useful material, therefore, do not

bore

Rather they give us a unique

us.

earlier civilization,

such

as

satisfaction.

To

member of an

a

our Peruvian, these materials would be lacking

would make them meaningful to him or beautiful. Though we have succeeded in achieving a great variety of fabrics without much variation of weaving technique, the vast field of weaving in those qualities that

itself is

open today

At

for experimentation.

present, our industry has

laboratories for such work. (Today, 1959, the situation test

tube and the slide rule have, so

no

The

changing.)

is

taken good care of our progress.

far,

Nevertheless, the art of building a fabric out of threads

is still

a

primary

concern to some weavers, and thus experimenting has continued. Though not

in general

admitted to the officialdom of industrial production,

some hand-weavers have been as

an integral part of

At are bringing

textile

to

weaving

itself

work.

their looms, free

back the

draw attention

trying to

from the

dictates

qualities that result

of a blueprint, these weavers

from an immediate

relation

of the working material and the work process. Their fresh and discerning attempts to use surface qualities of weaves are resulting in a

of

textile design. It

is

largely

due

work

to their

becoming an element of interest. Texture

effects

new

school

that textures are again

belong to the very structure

of the material and are not superimposed decorative patterns, which at present

become

as

have

lost

much

our

love. Surface

treatment of weaving, however, can

an ornamental addition as any pattern by an overuse

of the qualities that are organically part of the fabric structure.

Though that the industry all

it is is

through the stimulating influence of hand-weaving

becoming aware of some new

hand-weaving today has contributed

work

that leads

to

it.

textile possibilities,

To have

away from the general trend of a period has

certain perplexities.

There

is

a

danger of isolationism

.

.

.

to

overcome

hand-weavers

withdrawing from contemporary problems and burying themselves weaving recipe books of the sent,

96

which due

past; there

is

a

not

positive results, a

in

resentment of an industrial pre-

to a superior technique of manufacture, by-passes

them;


there

is

romantic ovcrestimation of handwork

a

work and vital

beHet in

a

artificial

Any

or as a therapeutic means.

under discussion

here. C]rafts

of art and usefulness (once level of art

and not quite

and the

industr)'

no longer of

craft

is

that of a

backwoods subsidy

potentially arc,

a natural

ment and

in

art

.

.

.

such not are hybrids

An example

trash.

is

the

an unauthorized manner,

its

craft

of weaving

new developwe can look forward

contribution to the

beginning to draw attention to

is

as

union), not quite reaching the

of a feud, they should have a family reunion. Since the

making,

and

become problematic when they

new form of the old crafts, and both should remember their genealogical relation. Instead

industry crafts

beyond

that of clearly defined usefulness.

our present day ash tray

Modern

is

is

importance. Crafts have a place today

is

machine

in contrast to

preservation of a market that

itself,

when it will be accepted as a vital part of the industrial process. The influence that hand-weaving has had thus far has been mainlv treatment of the appearance, the epidermis, of fabrics. The engi-

to the time

in the

neering work of fabric construction, which affects the fundamental characteristics of a material, has barely

been considered.

It

is

probably

work in this direction. For just as silk, can become stiff in the form of taffeta, through

again the task of hand-weavers to soft material

by nature,

a certain thread construction,

and

linen, a comparatively stiff material, can

be made soft in another, so an endless number of constructional

produce new

new

fabrics.

The

increasing

number of new

fibres

qualities creates a special challenge to try the effects

them. Just

as

a

effects

can

incorporating

of construction on

chemical treatment has produced fluorescence, so structural

treatment can produce, for example, sound-absorption.

Our

ancient

Peruvian colleague might lose his puzzled expression, seeing us thus

adventures with threads, adventures that

we

set for

suspect had been his passion.

Industry should take time off for these experiments in textile

construction and, as the easiest practicable solution, incorporate hand-

weavers as laboratory workers in

its

scheme. By including the weaver's

imaginative and constructive inventiveness, as well as his land-loom

with

its

wide operational scope, progress

in textile

work may grow from

progress in part to a really balanced progress.

This essay originally appeared

was reprinted Albers:

On

in

in

"Constructing Textiles" Design 47:8 (April

Alvin Lustig, ed. Visual Communication

(New

4,

1946) and

York, 1945) and in

Anni

Designing (\^es\cy3r\ I'niversiiy Press: Middlelown, C'onnccticiit, 19^1), pp. 12-16.

97


133-

Drawing for a Rug

II,

1959.

Ink and pencil on paper, 13. 1

The

X 43.6 cm (5 X 17 Xf, inches). Josef and Anni Albers '/<.

Foundation, Bethany

AA DR

013.

134. Drawing for a Rug II, Gouache on paper, 13. 1 X 43.6 cm (sXi, X i-jYu,

The

inches).

AA DR

135. Drawitig for a Rug II, Gouache on paper, 13. 1 X 43.6 cm (5X<, X 17X1,

The

Josef and Anni Albers

Foundation, Bethany

98

1959.

015.

1959.

inches).

Josef and Anni Albers

Foundation, Bethany

AA DR

016.


136.

Study for Ctvuiiio ReiiL

Gouache on blueprint paper, 29.7 X 27.6 cm (11%. X loX inches). The Josef and Anni Albers ca. 1967.

Foundation, Bethany

AA DR

021.

99


137-

Study for A, 1968.

Gouache on graph paper, 27.9 X 26 cm (11 X ioYm, inches). The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, Bethany

100

AA DR

024.


,.m., y-h

\j:a&,

tK rk

"..<i^.,

:;k,

^^

â&#x20AC;˘^'

^

-

PT

1 .1.

vZS

^

w^

'

3^.

.i^-. J^.. ^-(^

V4-W

"

....-^'

-i^r

y

*

.J

^^

i

1"

'^''

'-i-

'

:-^-:'-^'^.'/^

W^

'-s^-

'^ ~* 7' "'Sf*'*^^^

.

r

1:T

^^^

-Ww"

.--.^^^T'

"-

.j^:^ :;;>gp-^!-:: -^-^ V~^'

-^-T^r^

IIILI., 138.

Study for B, 1968.

Gouache on graph paper, 31 X 23.8 cm (12 /i. X gX inches). The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, Bcthanv

AA DR

025.1

lOI

-^.^^^

-4


r^r A 2 2 ^ ^ ^ j^ A ^ ^ \. y '^ _ A^ A\ A r A A _

/

139.

DR XV B,

38.4

X

The

Josef and

58.9

Bethany

OR

cm

1974. Ink (15 X X

on

paper,

22 X inches).

Anni Albers Foundation,

AA DR

053.

'y-TV

140.

38.4

DRXIV, i^j^. Ink on paper, 58.9 cm (15)4 X ^^yÂť inches).

X

The Josef and Anni Bethany

102

AA DR

Albers Foundation,

051.


141.

Study for Triangulated Intaglio

1976. 31.

1

The

X

Gouache on 28.4

Josef

Bethany

cm

(12

V,

paper, yâ&#x20AC;&#x17E;.

X

II

M'6

inches).

and Anni Albers Foundation,

AA DR

070.

103


142.

Line Iin'olvcmoit lU 1964.

Lithograph, 50.5 x 37.5cm {\C)V*

X 14%,

inches).

The Josef and Anni Bethany

104

AA PR

Albers Foundation,

005/II.


I 143.

Line Involvement

Lithograph, 37.5 (i4'M'6

The

X

x

UL 1964. cm

50.5

19/8 inches).

Josef and Anni Alhcrs Foundation,

Bethany

AA PR

005/III.

105


144- Line Involvement IV, 1964.

Lithograph, 50.5 (19

Xx

14

'/t

x

37.5

The Josef and Anni Bethany

106

cm

inches).

AA PR

Albers Foundation,

005/IV.


145- I-ine

Involvement

K

Lithograph, 37.5 x 50.5 (14

')4

The

X 19X

1964.

cm

inches).

Josef and Anni Albers Foundation,

Bethany

AA PR

005/V.

107


146. Li)H' hivolvemeyit VI, 1964.

Lithograph, 50.5 X 37.5 (19 7s

X 14%

The Josef and Anni Bethany

108

cm

inches).

AA PR

Albers Foundation,

oos/VI.


147- Line Involvement VII, 1964.

Lithograph, 50.5 (19

/ÂŤ

The

X

14

'X*.

X

37.5

cm

inches).

Josef and Anni Albers Foundation,

Bethany

AA PR

005/VlI.

109


148. Yellow

X

Meander. Screenprint,

cm

(28 X 24 inches). The Josef and Anni AJbers Foundation, 71. 1

61

Bethany

no

AA PR

016.


149-

PO

72.9

X

II,

55.9

1973. Screenprint

cm

(28

%X

The Josef and Anni Bethany

AA PR

and photo-offset,

22 inches).

Albers Foundation,

034.

Ill


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^^HiHiii 150.

Anni Albers and Alex Reed,

Neck

piece, ca. 1940.

Aluminum

strainer,

paper

clips,

and chain; pendant: 10.8

X

8

cm

(4

Collection of

112

/{

X

3

X

Donna

inches).

Schneier.


Anni Albers and Alex Rccd, Neck piece, ca. 1940. 151.

Washers and grosgrain ribbon. 109.2

cm

(43 inches) long.

Collection of Mrs. Barbara Drcier.

113


152. Anni Albers and Alex Reed, Neck piece, 1988 reconstruction

of a

ca.

1940 original.

Corks, bobby pins, and thread,

cm

78.7

(31

inches) long.

Collection of

153.

Mary

Emma

Anni Albers and Alex Reed,

Neck

piece, ca. 1940.

Brass

grommets and cotton

83.8

Harris.

cm

cord,

(33 inches) long.

Collection of Mrs. Barbara Dreier.

154.

Anni Albers and Alex Reed,

Neck

piece, ca. 1940.

Brass

grommets and chamois,

104. 1

cm

(41 inches) long.

Collection of Mrs. Barbara Dreier.

114


155-

Anni Albcrs and Alex Reed,

Neck of a

piece, 1988 reconstruction

ca.

1940 original.

Eye hooks, pearl beads, and thread, 83.8

cm

(33 inches) long.

Collection of

Mary

Emma

Harris.

"5


rjjw

156.

Free-hanging

room

divider,

ca. 1948. Walnut lath, dowels, and

waxed-cotton harnessmaker's thread, 326.4 X 108 cm (128 X X 42X inches). The Metropolitan Museum of Art,

New York,

â&#x20AC;˘e^--

Gift of Anni Albers

I970.75-78-

157.

Free-hanging room divider,

ca. 1949. Jute,

X 86.4 cm (57 X 34 inches). of Modern Art, Museum The 144.8

New York, 411.60.

116

Gift of the designer


I'^H.

Free-hanging room divider,

1949. Cellophane

and cord,

cm (94 X 32% inches) The Museum of Modern Art, 238.7

X

New

York, Gift of the designer

409.60.

"7

82.5


Anni

Kelly Feeney

By

all

1950s,

Albers: Devotion to Material

accounts,

when

Anni Albers had never

synagogue before the mid-

visited a

the ark panels she designed for

Temple Emanu-El

in Dallas

160-61) were installed. Born to a family of assimilated Berlin Jews,

(figs.

Albers was baptized and confirmed in the Protestant church. This complex religious identity

was

a changeable feature of Albers's personality.

she was explicit about her background, particularly

if

Sometimes

she anticipated

an affront. But on occasions she was quick to remind others that she was not Jewish (except,

as she

put

it,

Cohen

asked Albers to weave a matzoh

cover for her family's Passover seder. "You

know

I'm not Jewish," Albers

proceeded to carry out the assignment.

replied, yet

when

"in the Hitler sense"), as in 1959,

the graphic designer Elaine Lustig

One wonders

if

Albers sensed any irony in the Dallas commission, or in those she later received for other synagogue decorations

and

for a

Holocaust memorial."

In 1922 Albers left behind the upholstered comfort of her family's

apartment

in Berlin to attend the

closing of the Bauhaus, she

of Germany to teach

at

Bauhaus. Eleven years

and her husband,

another experimental school. Black Mountain

College, in the United States.

During

this

herself to her art, as well as to teaching (for

example, the 1939 text "Art

tumultuous time Albers devoted

and writing about

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;A Constant")

commitment. Clearly Modernism was for

In the mid-1950s the building

art.

Her

essays

often prescribe a devotional

Albers's religion,

overshadowed the complex relationship she had

it

the

later, after

Josef, left the uncertainties

and her fervor

to Judaism.

committee of Temple Emanu-El

hired the sculptor Gyorgy Kepes to oversee the interior decoration

of its new synagogue, which had been designed by Howard Meyer and

Max and

Sandfield. Kepes,

stained-glass

who

designed the sanctuary's pendant light fixtures

windows himself

and

selected Albers for the design

fabrication of the ark covering.

Albers collaborated with Kepes on a fabric pattern that echoed

not only his blue, green, and amber geometric

window

sparkling adobe-brick pattern of the sanctuary's

main

design, but the

wall as well.

Although

Kepes had originally envisioned conventional ark curtains that could be drawn back to reveal the Torahs, Albers prevailed upon him to

mount

the material

Kepes accepted, fabric

had

on

sliding

wooden

typifies Albers's genius:

to be spun,

panels. Ihis solution,

let

her

which

fewer yards of the expensive custom

woven, and dyed, and, with the money saved,

she was able also to design and produce a silvery material to line the back

of the tabernacle.

The in a diverse

118

eight twenty-foot-high ark panels appear at

first

to be covered

mosaic of gold, green, and blue Lurex blocks. Albers,

who


159-

Study for Temple Emanu-El ark panels,

1957. Collage

of colored paper,

foil, textile

sample, and typewritten labels on paper,

cm

43.1

X

The

Josef and

36.2

Bethany

(17

X

14

/:

inches).

Anni Albers Foundation,

AA DR

095.

119


— was

fluent in the language of geometry, achieved this effect

an underlying modular structure

in her fabric design;

panel bears the same pattern, the fabric the repeat the spare

on the center

or,

mounted

at different points in

down. This way,

panels, simply turned upside

of fabric that Albers supplied to the temple could be used

roll

any one of the eight panels

to replace

is

by setting out

even though each

damage were ever to occur. economy transformed

if

Alberss rigorous aesthetic and practical

the synagogue's ark covering into a splendid architectural element.

The

panels are such a focal point in the sanctuary that the temple's building

committee Kepes

objected to them, even though they had approved

initially

the design several

months

November

In

earlier.

1956 the committee asked

Albers could produce a fabric pattern with "softened transitions"

if

had

to replace the fabric she

made

just

in time for the synagogue's

January dedication." Albers informed Kepes that

would be impossible

it

to

meet that deadline, so the committee was forced

as

they were. But no one complained after the February 1957 issue of

magazine came out, with the

Life

to accept the panels

glowing sanctuary reproduced

vast,

in

glorious color.'

Four years

Rhode work

Modern

that

had made studio

Congregation B'nai

is

building by Samuel Glaser. Albers responded with

entirely different

weaving

in Dallas,

(fig.

164).

of Woonsocket,

Israel

an ark covering for their new temple,

Island, invited Albers to create

a baroque a

later the

As

from the

six

sleek,

machine-woven piece she

on

textured tapestries

in Dallas, she

mounted

loom

a

the textiles

in her

on wooden panels

designed to slide apart during services. Measured amounts of gold Lurex in the tapestries lend luster to the other,

—and make

and

jute

entirely of gold.

—which

weft

On

much

quieter, materials

the textiles appear from a distance to be closer inspection the black

Albers referred to

as

"thread hieroglyphs"

of the general luminosity.^ The B'nai temple's sanctuary with a

and white

Israel panels,

shimmering radiance,

—cotton

woven

lines

of floating

—emerge out

which dominate the

are

somewhat

calligraphic,

symbolic of the sacred scriptures they protect and adorn. In an unpublished statement about this commission, Albers wrote

which she described

that an earlier weaving,

as "linear in design,

vaguely

suggesting written ciphers," was her point of departure.' (The earlier is

presumably ^/rtc^-W/^/r^-G'o/^/

relates to

[1950,

fig.

42].)

work

This reference to "ciphers"

an ongoing theme in Albers's work: the implicit relationship

between language and weaving. Albers's preoccupation with

this idea

grew

out of a lifelong admiration for the weavings produced in pre-Conquest Peru, a culture that

left

behind extraordinary

textiles

but no written

language. Albers believed that the "expressive directness" of the

Andean

weavers was possible precisely because they did not communicate through writing."

But Albers was

that language can take.

also interested in the variety

Among

Anni Albers Foundation)

are

of visual forms

her papers (now held at the Josef and

magazine clippings from the 1960s of various

scripts,

including Japanese calligraphy, musical notation, cuneiform, and

Arabic,

among

others.

She enjoyed the graphic

qualities

of these written

languages and the mystery of their abstraction. In the cipherlike design of the interest in the written

of Judaism

the study of

Albers's

the biblical injunction against iconography in favor of

Hebrew

texts.

Six Prayers, for the Jewish

120

Woonsocket commission,

form intersected compellingly with a basic tenet

The same

Museum

is

in

true of her subsequent commission.

New

York

(fig.

60).

The Jewish


i6o and

Temple

161.

Ark panels,

l-.inanu-lX Dallas, 1956

(open and closed).

IZI


Museum had begun

in

1964 to acquire

art

memorializing the Jews

died in the Holocaust, after the philanthropist Vera List (the

Samuel Glaser) had established

Sam

a special

fund

of

for this purpose. In 1965

Hunter, the director-elect of the museum, wrote to Albers, inviting

commemorative

her to execute a

tapestry.

He

and that the museum "placed no

restrictions

character of the commissioned memorial, or

Albers worked for several

format by weaving

months on

commissions

stated that

were not being granted on the basis of religious

its

who

sister

faith or ethnic origin,

of any kind on the

upon

its

artistic

authorship.""

the piece, gradually developing

the spring of 1966, after

five full-scale studies." In

she had submitted the finished tapestries and had received enthusiastic

approval from the director. Hunter then hesitated to accept them. At the last

minute he and

had noticed

List

similarities

between the work and

her ark covering in Woonsocket. Hunter wrote to her, expressing his reservations: "It a

memorial

would

was our hope, of course, for the six million,

my

detract in

to

opinion from the uniqueness of

Albers responded to Hunter three days

what must have been

have something quite unique

and the existence of a work so

a

later.'"

this

keen sense of disappointment, lor by then she

clearly

of enormous importance to

her.

the comparison of Six Prayers to the earlier synagogue

Woonsocket she had

set

them

and

career,

this

She welcomed

work but pointed

out significant differences. In both works she had used in

commission."'

In her letter she moderated

was sixty-seven years old and near the end of her weaving

commission was

as

similar

six panels;

but

close together to read as a unified whole,

while in Six Prayers she had set them apart from one another, like stelae representing the six million dead. She also pointed out that the synagogue

panels were a ceremonial, festive gold, in contrast to the

monochromatic

gray and silver of Six Prayers. She emphasized technical differences as well: for the ark panels,

had used

a

worked on over for

which she had woven

warp of loosely a

set cotton,

in a

matter of weeks, she

while for Six Prayers, which she

period of several months, she had used a durable linen

both the closer-set warp and In the end, the

for

most of the weft.

museum overcame

its

reluctance

and accepted

Six Prayers. In a press release announcing the work's inaugural presentation,

Albers wrote that the piece was conceived to be intimate rather than

monumental." Conducive effect elicit

to meditation,

of Albers's characteristic poise and

it

has a palpable silence, the

restraint. Yet the panels

prayer; they are a prayer, evoking loss

and sorrow through

not only

their

woven

strands. Like the Peruvian textiles that Albers so admired. Six Prayers

communicates outside any recognizable language. lit

by

silver,

their secrets.

122

Its

"thread-hieroglyphs,"

possess a subtle intensity; tugging at us, they slowly reveal


i62.

Ark

Cotton,

panels, 1962. jute,

and Lurex;

X 213.4 cm X 84 inches) overall. Temple B'nai Israel, six panels,

162.6

(64

Woonsocket, Rhode

Notes

1.

Onl)- the most signiticant ot these

commi.s.si()ns are discussed here.

her commissions tor lemple

Temple B'nai

in Dallas,

Emanu-E!

Israel in

in

Albers also created ark-curtain

material for the Marcel Breuer-designed

Scarsdale

New

Scarsdalc,

York, in 1958, and a set of ark panels

tor the

Congregation Hartzion Agudath

Achim, (The

Reform Temple,

Silver Springs,

latter

is

now

Maryland,

Ancient Writing (1936), Pictographic

Memo

{1958),

Jotting (1959),

Haiku

(1953),

Scroll (1962),

Museum

Woonsocket, and the Jewish

New York,

as

Apart from

in 1967.

of

in the collection

Museum, Jerusalem.) Howard Meyer and Max Sandfield,

(1980). For

Open

sec Virginia

Code

(1962),

Epitaph (1968), and Letter

more on the

between language and

Text:

Letter (1958),

(1961),

Gardner

relationship

AJbers's weavings,

Troy's

"Thread

The Woven Work of Anni

as

Albers"

in this publication. 7.

.Sam Hunter, letter to

June

25, 1965,

Foundation

The

Joset

.-Xnni .Albers,

and .Anni

.-Mbers

archives.

the Israel

8.

2.

collections: Bauhaus-.'\rchiv, Berlin; .Art

memorandum

to the I'emple

Building Committee, Nov.

Temple Emanu-El, 3.

Emanu-El

12,

1956,

Dallas.

"Lotr\' Shrine: Dallas

Dedicates Synagogue,"

Congregation

Life, Feb. 25, 1957,

p. 6z. 4.

museum

and Weatherspoon

Institute ot Chicago;

Gallery, University of

North Carolina,

Greensboro. Another

is

in a private

collection in Pittsburgh.

The

fifth

has not

been located. 9.

Albers used the phrase 'thread-

1 hrcc ot the five studies are in

Sam

March

Hunter,

23, 1966,

letter to .Anni .Albers,

The

Anni Albers

Josef and

hieroglyphs" in a letter to the Jewish

Foundation archives. Hunter had expressed

Museum, March

enthusiasm

26, 1966,

Anni Albers Foundation 5.

Anni

The

Josef and

archives.

Albers, unpublished manuscript,

10.

Foundation archives.

March

6.

Anni Albers, On Weaving (Middlctown,

p. 68.

The

titles

Press, 1965),

of many of AJbers's works

refer explicit^ to written language,

an

earlier letter,

such

dated Feb.

and .Anni

18,

.Albers

Foundation archives.

June 1962, The Josef and Anni Albers

Conn.: Wesleyan University

in

1966, also in the Jo,sef

Anni

Albers, letter to

26, 1966,

Sam

Hunter,

The Josef and Anni Albers

Foundation archives. 11.

Press release.

New

The

York, Jan. 1967,

Jewish

The

Museum,

Josef and Anni

Albers Foundation archives.

123

Island.


'

The

Nicholas Fox Weber

Last Bauhausler

Grasp the simple, embrace the primitive.

Diminish yourself,

— Lao

bridle your passions.

Tzii

I.

When Anni Albers asked me if it would be possible to make fine-art prints at my family's commercial offset shop, she became a little girl eager to embark on

marvelous adventure.

a

septuagenarian

embarked

lit

for the

The

eyes of this generally

up with expectation. As when she had, Bauhaus half a century

earlier,

dour

age twenty-two,

at

she was entering her

favorite realm: that of uncharted territory.

This austere woman, dressed in her inevitable whites and pale beiges, her graying hair sensibly cut, her only

maybe some powder,

makeup

a hint of lipstick

and

sparkled like an eight-year-old in a party dress. Alice,

perhaps: an unbridled enthusiast about to enter the magical kingdom. It

would

had not occurred

minutes from

five

to

me

that

anything to either of the

offer

for insurance

their house,

my

family's printing

artistic AJberses.

Fox

company some forty-

Press,

mostly churned-out booklets and brochures

and manufacturing companies;

it

was known

for high-

quality color-process printing, not for the sort of work that bears an

artist's

on each sheet in the tradition of limited-edition lithographs, etchings, and screenprints. But Anni made her proposal with zeal. This great figure of Modernism who would, by the end of her life, be the last surviving signature

teacher of the Bauhaus

suggested

it

with the same eagerness and openness

with which she entered the vast domain of her

local Sears

Roebuck

(ten

minutes from her house) and embarked on a course of what, with her cadences, she enthusiastically called "tah-reasure hunting."

lilting Berlin

At Sears she would

extol the merits of plastic containers

blouses, declaring that that

"all this

machine processes were

among

a

and polyester

emphasis on handmade was nonsense, '

wonderful thing, and that synthetics were

the marvels of our century. I

told

Anni

a bit

about the technology of photo-offset.

I

gave a

simple description that touched on the process in the most fundamental

way

when,

trying as best a

I

few months

taking a Lord to the other

could to follow Anni's patient and generous lead earlier,

& Taylor box

she had led

me

to understand

weaving by

top and stretching lines of string from one end

and then inserting popsicle

sticks at right angles to the string,

with the sticks placed alternately above and below the taut

fiber, in

order to create a bare-bones loom that demonstrated warp and weft. She

had told

work

124

I

me

then that she was delighted that someone so interested in her

was hoping,

I

had

said, to write a

book about

it

— knew nothing


163.

Anni

Albcrs, Milan, July 1983.

125


about

work

her

technique, as she quite loathed

textile

to be thought of as art

swim

aspects of her personality, but her wish to

me, and since

I

thought Anni's

of pure and great abstract

art

against the tide intrigued

weavings" to have

"pictorial

and wanted

that craft stuff"

"all

did not yet recognize the perverse

first. I

the qualities

all

belong next to the paintings of her

to

Bauhaus confreres Paul Klee and Vasily Kandinsky

and since I, too, had most weaving with macrame and needlepoint and was amused and willing to follow her route.

the arrogance to link the like,

I

When we photo-offset, utilize the

began to discuss the possibility of her working with

Anni proved

medium

to

quick study. She decided that she would

to be a

make

a print

of two horizontal rectangular forms

stacked one on top of the other. Each of the rectangles

keeping with the

a triangulated pattern, in

would contain

recent geometric experi-

artist's

full of diversion and ins and outs, but deliberately symmetry or repetition. At the Bauhaus, Anni had been deeply moved by Wilhelm Worringer's pivotal book Abstraction and Empathy; she embraced Worringer's idea of abstraction providing the

mentations, a design lacking in internal

opportunity to create "visual resting places" removed from the often painful realities

and

of the natural world. She was interested in

in history

life itself

keep the viewer engaged, the new creation, to

locale or

moment

or to the maker's personal experience. This pure realm of art

could provide some of the harmony that

had

was timeless

art that

known

universal rather than art with specific links to a

eschew easy resolution;

like Josef,

like all

own

artist's

of Anni's compositions,

Anni imbued

certain tension, a perpetual in/out motion, an

and ground. The

sometimes lacked. To abstraction with a

ongoing play between image

persona was to fade

in deference to the

sacred realm of art and the comforts as well as the realities of the technical.

Anni had no wish

to reveal private

fluctuations of her

own mind and

on

the purely aesthetic

for

many

that

Lao

and

emotions or the sometimes troubling heart; she preferred, instead, to focus

Tzii's

It is

words were so beloved by Anni, who kept

philosophy in perpetual reach

a

just as she

had

no wonder

volume of his

at her bedside.

Photo-offset, she determined,

own

of printmaking,

practical issues

years reveled in the construction of textiles.

would enable her to reproduce her and simultaneously to obtain

deliberately irregular pencil strokes,

the crystalline edges

and

reversals allowed

by machine technology. The

photographic reproduction of her gray markings had never been possible

mediums with which

in the print

etching,

and screenprinting.

musical,

communication of the

and other ancient forms

if

meaning of its intonations

the precise

to the gray, a red pattern that

a bright plastic sheet

stripping department from an original sketch

opaquely on the top half of

and

lithography,

sort that fascinated her in hieroglyphics

idea of a voice being heard even

to be reversed

of writing. She liked nonspecific language, the

was indecipherable. In contrast hand-cut on a rubylith

she had previously worked

enabled her to suggest mysterious, and

It

on the lower

of two

layers

by Anni was

had been in the

to be printed

this

two-section print, while the pattern was

half.

What was

red above was gray below,

vice versa, another result of the photo-mechanical process.

The

solids

above were pencil strokes below; the pencil above unmodulated red below.

The

irregularity of her pencil strokes

against the crisp purity of that,

with a

flick

of the

this elusive fuzziness

machined forms appealed to her. So did the idea could make what was negative in one

wrist, she

rectangle positive in the other. She was grateful to the technology for having

opened new party.

126

Now

visual possibilities

as

if it,

not she, was the responsible

she could achieve the sort of contrast and unpredictability, the


^^ 164.

Fox

I,

1973. Photo-offset,

X 34 cm (14?^ X 13 inches). The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, 38

'/(,

Bethany.

127


MX

165.

Fox

II,

1973. Photo-offset,

X 34 cm (14 K X 13 /(, inches). The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, 38

Bethany.

128


niixtuiv o{

tlic

personal and

impersonal, the coincidence ot order and

ilic

spontaneity, and hence the playfulness and elements ot surprise intrinsic to

— while being — when A and work — she would work

her

part ot the

year or so later

munist

letting

you know

me,

ot the evidence remains.) The

would shorten her

(she

she was about ten aiul

first still

with tutors, was a Miss \

world

in the

work. (Unfortunately,

teacher ot Annelisc FIcischmann

she took josets as her

being etliicated

— Anni lo\ed

when

last),

small groiic) ot children

ni a

name for whom she autumn leaves."' Then,

the

painted "some good naturalistic watercolors ot

when

life

Com-

had started out with very

in her

first art

name when

iolet

about Anni's

detail

tone ot a rebel

had grown up with finger bowls

abstractionists, she

traditional renditions ot the natural

none

some

in

in the confessional

that she

many

house, that, like so

began to write

I

tell

modern world.

little

she was fourteen and had enrolled in the Kceiim, her parents hired

a private art teacher, loni Mayer,

who came once

a

week

house

to the

with a nude model tor Anni to draw. In retrospect, the idea ot the figure

drawing she had done at the

the

time

way

look

it

made

as a

her

young woman made

"feel

that the progressive

sense to Anni, but

and liberated "Tonuschka" gave her

beyond bourgeois

at the worici

little

very professional," and she was excited by "a first

Berlin." At age fitteen, in 1914,

Anni

made as her entry to a lyceum competition tor posters to give to World War orphans "a picture ot short-haireti little girls sitting behind each I

other in a row. Each wore a skirt about three inches short ot her knees and

was knitting, with a

a ball

of wool

in tront ot her."

premonition of her future involvement with

with that image she was combining her role ot bete noir? She got skirts

too brief

A

word

that the posters

Could Anni have had Did she realize that

threaci?

with that ot

star pupil

were unacceptably immodest, the

poster she considered distinctly inferior

won

first prize,

while hers was awarded only an honorable mention. Her frustration

—Anni always seemed —was with her over

over this

to take a certain pleasure in

wronged

still

With her next and breaking the

rules.

Martin Brandenburg,

art teacher, she

telt

she

made

having been

later.

continued both working figuratively

Now a tull-time art student with the Postimpressionist whom she liked and trom whose strict discipline

she benefited even

she

half a century

it

she questioned the specifics ot his training,

representational paintings about halt

The problems

lite-size.

began when, "ha\ing seen a beautiful Lucas Cranach Eve painted against a

black background"

—one must imagine

the sonorous, soft voice and

deliberate speaking manner, the subtle but distinct emphasis "beautiful,"

its first

warmly

syllable stretched

—she began,

of Brandenburg's recommended technique, to put black

Brandenburg

said that if she did not

could not return to his

classes.

reconciliation, the rebellious student dictates, but the

much

I

work she produced

this use

in tears.

vowing

to

atter that

in her paintings.

of black she

Her mother arranged

comply with the

time makes clear

a

teacher's

how

she ultimately delighted in that black.

When Anni red,

abandon

Anni was

on the word

in violation

first

gave

me

made in solid handwork exactlv. Mv outlines she would want the same

the sketch for the pattern to be

instructed the stripper to simulate her

erroneous assumption was that

in the

sort ot personal ettect that the gray pencil strokes had.

It

took the stripper

days to cut a rubylith that perfectly resembled her drawing

—only

to

have Anni respond by .saying that she hated the handmade appearance.

She meant her drawinti

onl\- as a tiiiide to the

design and desired exact.

129


and sharply pointed

crisp lines

The

do was cut one

to

Once

with the points

reverse of the top,

the preparatory stages were complete

all

my

thrilling intimacy, to a

devotion to

had ever thought possible

wanted

make

to

I

Fox

a trip to

this process

more honest and intense Anni said that she

She needed, she

Press.

felt,

to

watch the

actual printing in order to determine the intensity of the gray as

and

off the press

make

to

sure that the

opaque red trapped

it

rolled

it

exactly,

containing the pencil without any unwelcome white space around

We

he

all

regular visits to the Alberses

had exposed me, with than

triangles

piece.

had taken many months, during which art

just lightly touching.

from which he cut the

bottom unit was simply the

precisely; since the

had

triangles

stripper then developed a grid

it.

would pick her up one morning at the modest, shingled, raised ranch house where she and Josef lived on a pleasant suburban street in the town of Orange, fifteen minutes from the center of New Haven. Although she still drove short distances on her own, it was better for

agreed that

me

I

to take her

on the hour-long journey

was on the north side of Hartford, and return her In those days

I

Fox

to

at the

MG roadster, which

drove an

Press,

which

end of the

day.

thought would

I

be impossible for Anni to get into. She walked awkwardly, often using a

and her

cane,

what her

and

legs

feet

seemed

slightly

precise disability was, but she

had been an incorrect rumor

at

contracted rickets during World

Josef danced

War

referred to having

all

broken her hip problem. like

(I

night, a

and

few years

would

at

i66. Josef Albers at 8

New

North Forest

Haven, Connecticut,

Circle,

ca. 1968.

—and

there

she wore large custom-made

accommodate

a structural

remained seated

problem.

Bauhaus

at

parties while

but she never identified the actual

sister,

Lotte,

them

to

of which their leg muscles

feet, as a result

children might be similarly afflicted it

from her brother, Hans Farman, that Anni,

could not fully develop. Anni's

that

I

her mother, suffered from a genetic syndrome that caused

have an extreme arch in both

know

did not yet

another point had mentioned that she had

earlier,

later learn

I

terribly thin calves

Black Mountain College that she had

shoes that were clearly designed to

Anni had once

malformed.

had

and Hans both

feared that their

— they were not— and Hans presumed

was one of the reasons that Anni and Josef had never had children

of their own. Indeed, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, the hereditary progressive nerve disorder from

which Anni

suffered,

would probably have

caused any female children she had to have the same sort of clawed

feet,

nerve deterioration, and wasting of leg muscles as Anni had.' Other people,

however, said that the reason was that the Alberses' work was their children,

and

that their involvement with their art

for family matters.)

So

for the sake

left:

of Anni's comfort

I

no time or energy drove

my

mother's

Rover sedan, which so fascinated Josef that he came outside to the drive-

way

to study

it.

Josef paced back and forth analyzing the English

he

said, to their

Mercedes,

in that, unlike

of these models wasted trunk space.

American

car. It

was

similar,

designs, neither

The importance

of this relationship

of form and function was never minimized. The Alberses had already told

me on many

portable

Sony

Clean and

occasions that they preferred their Polaroid camera and

television to the paintings

effective design

of the Abstract Expressionists.

with a purpose ranked

far

higher than art

focused on the revelation of one's private self

Anni evinced the same pleasure embarking on our outing had over our collaboration from the eagerness of a

And

130

I

young man

was content beyontl

as she

the start. Clearly she liked the attention,

to cater to her

belief; after years

whims and soak up of studying

her views.

art history, in


both Anni and

josct

had ciKounicicd,

1

people ulio

as nc\(.T bftoic,

j;cn-

uincK' h\cd and breathed art as the essence of their h\es. lor the Alberses art

was the central

— not on

issue

of American education and

supreme

and

opposed

line as

more

was

in

Ihe

visual

to Duccio's,

most of Americas famous two

accessible of the

of

artists

she was as selective as in

— but Anni was

them, eager to cross the

all

the

from discussing

line

was entirely

friends. In this arena

of her other choices, but once one had made

sanctum, there was

to the inner

it

Giotto's

architecture, about

work and sense of self; Anni needed

his

a remarkable

— about

topics to establishing an intimate personal connection, josef

content with

institutions

world was

had established

I

German Rococo

about

most

in their marriage.

months Anni and

often had wonderful conversations

I

the tiaudulence oi

it

at large.

of them individually, and

for each

In the preceding

rapport. Josef

the peripher)' as

our culture

in

much

pleasure in being there, even

if

one had to remain somewhat on guard and on good behavior. Arrogant,

woman,

imperious, demanding, and snobby, this highly intelligent

grand duchess of Modern

art,

could be

she could be dismissive.

so, as

who

the few

and savored

recognized the

I

it

was Josef who

in 1971.

was then

I

My

among

of the position

latched onto the significance of

iiiitialK'

What

from the world of printing.

them laden with

at Yale.

rarit\'

as such.

it

in m\'

ordinary and bourgeois and businesslike for people to

this

and charming, genuinely

was, of course, Battering to be

It

escaped her opprobrium:

In fact,

my coming

as gracious

friend

both Annis and

Ihe occasion was our very

rare potential.

a twenty-three-year-old

Ruth Agoos

graduate student

first

who had

was

meeting,

in art history

— who with her husband. Herb,

work, and

Josef's

mind seemed too

like the Alberses

collected

been, to the cool and distant

extent to which the Alberses jointly permitted personal relationships to

develop, a friend of theirs for over a decade her in calling on them. At that point

reputation but

by her

I

knew

had seen I

about

little

his wife's

had, a year

I

anticipated meeting.

know what to expect from the great who had now made such a mark on American

earlier,

been the

Museum

Metropolitan

of Art

in

New

York

painter art

and

Josef

major retrospec-

living artist ever to have a

first

accompany work and

other than the pieces

was Josef whom

It

to

Josef's

did not quite

color theorist

tive at the

very

at the Agooses'.

— had asked me

was familiar with

I

— but

I

was properly

donned my one clean pair of corduroys, a herringbone jacket, and a tie would later discover how right I was in having a foreboding that such details counted in a major way nervous and intimidated

in

advance.

I

where

was going

I

—and did my utmost

when had to get underneath the By the time Ruth and pulled up I

I

Drive, 1

I

was past being Happed

MG

I

to

to

keep the grease off

bang the

at the Alberses' at least

fuel

pump

—of

the house, with

its

I

had expected

But the interior

more

more than

head

his build

its

mind,

at least

some-

from I.evittown.

satellite

the half-fJight of stairs and, in an

met the

Alberses, their presence

the impression of

was almost

who was

and

my

and minimal and spare than anything one would

space completely. Josef was stocky, of

while Anni,

by Walter Gropius, or

chrome, not a

moment we went up

austere

ever find in I.evittown,

presence,

in

— but

in fact,

shingles the color of Band-Aids

to arrive at a pavilion

a rock.

house, at 808 Birchwood

strident concrete foundation completely devoid of planting. In

thing sleek and white and edged

pants

with

the car had finally started

could not help being astonished by the blatant ordinariness

the ugliness

my

tall

two

medium

like Picasso's,

for a

it

.separate beings

height,

was

a

filled

and had

mutual the

a large

but without the musculature

woman, was

thin as a

rail.

But whatever

131


"

were truly big people; they animated the world around

their builds, they

them. The nearly empty house, with

and complete absence of personal

few pieces of lean furniture

its

objects,

walls practically blank save

its

by Josef and work by two of his students (nothing

for four paintings

by Anni was

"

was

in sight),

minimal Modern

like a

by

stage set occupied

characters of Shakespearean dimensions.

The

redness of Josef's skin seemed accentuated by the snow-

whiteness of his smooth, straight

would have remarked on tell

me

hair, precisely the sort

of color effect he

Anni, although she would

in his teaching.

was so dark-skinned that she had been able

that she

of sun without any problem during their

Mexico

visits to

later

to take lots

in the era before

sunscreens were readily available while the fairer Josef had had to protect

made

himself assiduously,

a paler impression

like a figure in a

white movie slightly out of focus and infused with that she

had something about her

comic book fame, but

that

was

if this

less

light.

me

reminded

I

black-and-

regret to say

of Olive Oyl of Popeye

than flattering to her looks, the Olive

Oyl-like mix of awkwardness and amiability, the apparent receptiveness

and eager gaze

me

at

newcomer, won

as a

"What do you

me

do, boy^'' Josef asked

seconds after Ruth had introduced us and

over.

me

and control with which the rugged octogenarian had shaken study art history at Yale,

"I

to

some lower

answered

sir," I

only

in a strident voice

had been struck by the strength

I

my

hand.

reduced, as

was,

I

echelon: a student before a senior professor, an apprentice

before a master, a private before a general.

"Do you

like

it,

boyV This was not someone who believed

in

pussyfooting.

had no idea what

I I

fellowship grant; in an instant. cost,

and

if

But

mean,

.

"Why

not,

"Well,

sir, I

.

.

really

.

.

my

find that I'm losing

or

how

semester

it

for that

for the past three

I

weeks

like,

I

think so

much about

When

all

I

tried to talk to the

me

New

I'orcst Circle,

he put

his

I

like, boy,''

Josef declared,

arm around me and patted my

as,

art

anymore.

with what

my

to

I

deduced was

complete surprise, bastards

Haven, Connecticut, 1968,

photographed by Henri Carrier-Bresson.

in art history don't I

you

like?"

answered, and

we bandied about

professors in the department.

the

names of a few of the

Anni now chimed

in.

They had

the usual

disdain that practicing artists hold for art historians. She referred to

one well-known professor used the American idiom

as

"And what does your puzzled

by

132

my

me

slightly.

I

—she grinned

being

"full

of hot

parents' professions

like a little kid as

— and

it

she

air."

father do?" Josef then asked.

had not expected

it

I

The

question

was past defining myself

was only months

a

if quizzical smile.

"Which of those

back.

Now

the facts they're looking

of the

can't feel that inexplicable thrill

I

noticed that Anni was looking at

"This North

been

about the colors and forms,

degree of fascination, and with what seemed an approving 167. Josef All)^.r^ a( X

I've

fixtures in nineteenth-century

was made, he said that that wasn't the subject of the course.

find

I

art.

been taking a course called 'Seurat and the

I've

what the painting looked

go to museums

I

I.

passion for looking at

France to understand the details of Le Chahut.

when

my

boyV

basement studying gas-lighting

teacher about

of

packing

don't.

.

Iconography of Entertainment,' and in a library

me

have always been one to declare the truth at whatever

I

sir, I

this past

as part

thought he might have the power to send

I

he wouldn't mince words, neither would

"No,

I

with the university was, and

his relationship

was greatly dependent on the monthly stipends awarded

later that

I

realized


to

what extent

emphasized

Josef always

Albers had been

and plumbing;

a

Josef

who

occupation. I.orenz

his hither's

also did carpentry, electrical

work,

had the deepest admiration h)r the practical

skills,

hoiisepainter

on technical proficiency and knowledge

the emphasis

he had learned

of materials,

come from Adam and my who pointed to

as a child. "I

he would declare resolutely to scholars

whom

Johan Thorn-Prikker (with

That's all,"

father.

the glass artist

had apprenticed before attending

Josef

the Bauhaus) or to \'incent van Cjogh, or, less accurately, to the

and

Expressionists as a source for his early style

my

Besides,

mother was

Alberses might be interested that that the whiff of oil paint

one

as the

a painter; I

But

my

answered the question

I

in a

house with

a studio in

room was

detected in their living

I

had known throughout

I

thought perhaps that the

I

grew up

German

sub.secjuent developments.

the

it,

same

childhood.

"Hes

as asked.

a printer.

I

mean,

he owns a printing company."

"Good," Josef something. YouVe not

Anni had been looking of a

girl

that

my

owned

grounds

Her

his

for

was

From

many

round

father for the

What

all right.

own company, and a furniture

in effect

manufacturer

of business

felt isolated, this

graphic arts

me

met her

just first

moment

that

felt at

I

as

if

Hrst with the nervousness, then the relief, first

rime,

and who

did not yet realize was

I

we came from

similar back-

which her word of choice would have been "bourgeois."

combination

nature

art historian."

answer had afforded her a certain comfort, since her father had

father

in its

an

me

at

whose date has

has gotten through the

also

"Then you know something about

replied, smiling. just

link

a line

of work similar

and aesthetic concerns. For Anni, who by

between us had meaning.

that point forward, Josef talked to

— he esteemed graphic design

interesting printers,

to printing

an

as

and had designed

me

art

often about the

form, had worked with

several alphabets

— and gave

various materials pertaining to the subject.

Meanwhile, Anni,

who had had

far less to say in that first

conversation, had obviously begun to hatch a scheme.

been interested

some more something

And

in

my

While Josef had

printing connection theoretically, she recognized

tangible possibilities in the relationship. She might at the different sort of

in the

printing

company my

\oung man who had been brought

might have both

in that

and an admirer. She was,

a friend

I

make

familv owned.

afternoon, she

discovered in time,

deeply in need of both.

What that

1

most remember of the

Anni and Ruth

station

wagon,

anti

1

to procure lunch,

and that

world through the eyes of one of the

and

the ma.ss production a

new dimension, and

I

also

foods takes

encounter was

I

learned that

when you

Kentucky Fried Chicken

like "Josef

see the

proponents of the Bauhaus,

and

I

when

distinction

takes

on

and

ele-

don't like extra kah-rispy,"

more ordinary came to see that day that even the least appealing of fast on a new charm when enunciated in quiet Berlin tempo

"Ken-tucky fah-ried

from

initial

when someone of Anni's

has a magic that such preferences lack

souls.

of that

earliest

efficiency of

that

gance makes a pronouncement it

rest

went out, with Anni driving her Ghevrolet

a spare

"

— and

and lean

uttered by

served on immaculate white Rosenthal china

rolling cart, arranged there

by someone whose

eyes and imerring design sense govern every slight decision.

It

was two years

later that

1

was driving Anni

to her entrance to the printing plant the

to

Fox

Press.

She gave

same very individual magic, the

deliberateness and quirky charm, that she lent to most simple actions.

133


Proportioned

one

like

of Alberto Giacometti's striding figures

with the aid of her plain

stick,

Anni was

of her dark brunette hair and her

stately

she "purposefully avoided an arty look"

who was most

and walking

striking both for the dignity

own

manner. By her

definition,

a bent she shared with Josef

often seen in solid-colored, straight-collared shirts and

khaki or gray wool trousers; the tone

set

by

was of consider-

their clothing

able importance to both the Alberses. For her Fox Press outing, a simply cut, rather severe khaki skirt that

and

a silky white crepe blouse,

knowing her

well,

Anni wore

below the knee,

just

pure-white cable-stitch sweater. Not yet

a

assumed that the sweater was expensive, handmade,

I

— someone of Anni would wear nothing —but having become more acquainted with have come

and imported else

ended

that

Albers's stature

her

closely

to realize that

and from

it

work

For

a discount store.

practical products of ly instructed

I

was probably machine-made, synthetic, and washable I

now know

handmade and

weavers championing the

to look at their

that she always preferred the

mass production to most luxury goods

own

— and

belittling

regular-

machine

shirts.

Anni's plain, mostly inexpensive clothes acquired a rare elegance

on

her, in part

Alexander's

because of the

(When

have been Chanels.

asked

fit

for

whom

and hung; her its

suits

from

cheap merchandise) might

she considered to be the greatest

of the twentieth century, she was inclined to answer "Coco Chanel.")

artist

Along with the whites and a

way they

department store noted

(a

shimmering brown

were of color

as well as

When we had

father

built

tans that day,

Anni had on

Press,

I

lamented

I

told

Anni

that