Anni Albers

Anni Albers
"…to comprehend art is to confide in a constant."
- Anni Albers, 1984

Induction Category:
Arts & Humanities

Born: 1899

Died: 1994

Inducted: 1994

Town: Orange

In the fall of 1949, one year before Anni Albers moved to Connecticut, she became the first weaver to have a solo exhibition at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art. The show and subsequent traveling exhibit established Albers’ reputation as the most well-known textile artist of her time.

Born Annelise Fleischman in Berlin in 1899, Albers’ affluent parents encouraged her to pursue her interest in the arts. In 1922, she became a student at the famous Bauhaus design school in Weimar, where she enrolled in weaving classes after being denied admittance to a glass workshop because of her gender. She married abstract artist and Bauhaus teacher Josef Albers in 1925, and in 1928 accepted an instructing position at the school. During her tenure at the Bauhaus, Albers developed unique textiles that were both aesthetic and functional. When the school closed in 1933 under Nazi pressure, the Alberses immigrated to the United States, accepting teaching positions at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, where they both taught until 1949. Throughout this time, Anni Albers’ weavings were shown across the country, culminating in her ground-breaking exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in 1949.

The Alberses moved to New Haven, Conn., after Josef accepted a position at Yale University. Anni continued to weave, lecture, write and exhibit, as well as design textiles for Harvard University and develop mass-producible fabric patterns. A prolific writer of books and articles, Albers published On Designing in 1959 and her influential text On Weaving in 1965. In the 1970s, she devoted her energies exclusively to graphic art. The Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C., held a major exhibition of her woven and graphic work in 1985, which traveled nationwide. Her work was also featured at the Smithsonian’s National Gallery of Art and the Yale University Art Gallery. She received numerous honors, including the Medal of The American Institute of Architects in the field of Craftsmanship (1961), a gold medal from the American Crafts Council (1980) and five honorary doctorates, among them degrees from the Royal College of Art in London, The Rhode Island School of Design and the University of Hartford. Anni Albers continued to lecture and make prints until her death in 1994 in Orange, Conn. She was the last surviving teacher of the Bauhaus.

During This Time
1946 - 1965: Women’s Activism in Conservative Times