Inspiring women: Anni Albers

I hadn't looked closely at the work of Anni Albers in years and then I was rooting through some stuff over the weekend and found myself looking at her work with fresh eyes.

I was struck immediately by how Albers continues to influence makers and artisans. Many of my current Etsy favourites could be viewed as a footnote to her work. And given this resonance with out current aesthetic (triangles galore and hardware-derived jewelry, in particular), her work looks startlingly contemporary.


Anni Albers was born in 1899 and went to the Bauhaus as a student in 1922. At the Bauhaus, she experimented with new materials for weaving and executed richly colored designs on paper for wall hangings and textiles in silk, cotton, and linen yarns in which the raw materials and components of structure became the source of beauty.

She met her husband, Josef, there too and the couple lived alongside artist teachers including Klee and Kandinsky until they emigrated to the US in 1933 to work at Black Mountain College. Anni taught and made her extraordinary weavings and developed new textiles.


During these years Anni Albers's weavings were shown throughout the US and she published many articles on textiles and design. This activity culminated in her 1949 show at the Museum of Modern Art - the first exhibit of its kind for a textile artist. Her seminal text On Weaving was published in 1965.

Later, the couple moved to Yale and there Anni took up printmaking and lithography. She continued to travel, to make prints, and to teach until her death in 1994, at the age of 94, in Connecticut.

Further reading:
The Albers Foundation
Book: Anni Albers: Selected Writings on Design
Book: On Weaving by Anni Albers


Image credits: Both portraits of Anni Albers, via Vogue Italia
All work shown, by Anni Albers, via The Albers Foundation

8 comments:

  1. Though very familiar with Josef, I am sorry to say I was not aware of Anni's work. She was so ahead of her time! I love picturing her at the Bauhaus in 1922 and am glad she was recognized at MOMA and a full and long life.

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    1. She really was - I'm glad to have introduced you to her!

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  2. Another great entry in your inspiring women series!I remember reading a book of interviews of students and tutors of the Bauhaus compiled in the sixties. All the women interviewed were only asked about their impressions of male artists/designers.

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    1. Thanks Kirsty. I believe that Anni originally studied weaving at the Bauhaus because it was the only option open to her as a woman.

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  3. She is an amazing artist! I find a lot of the textile art connected to Bauhaus very inspiring. It also amazes me a lot how it still feels very contemoray!

    Thanks for the remider and a very nice blog! :)

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    1. It really does feel startlingly contemporary. Thank you!

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  4. What a wonderful article on Inspiring Women - you too Jane are an inspiring woman! I discovered your blog this morning and am loving it. (partly because I too was born and bred in Ireland and came to live in France as a young adult, but still feel, more than ever, oh, so Irish!). Check out the BBC Radio 4, woman's hour, at the moment: they are compiling a list of the 100 most powerful women in the UK. Interesting.
    Keep up your good work.

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    1. Thanks Davina - what a lovely comment! I'm so happy you're enjoying my blog and happy to "meet"! I will check out the BBC show.

      Thanks again! Jane xx

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