Texts by Brenda Danilowitz, Jenny Anger, Kiki Gilderhus, and Hugo Palmarola Sagredo
Josef Albers (1888–1976) was a highly influential painter, color theorist and teacher—a monumental figure in international postwar art and aesthetics; his wife and artistic equal, Anni Albers (1899–1994), created important textile artworks as well as spare and abstract paintings and drawings. Together, their artistic roots can be traced to the time they shared at the Bauhaus in Germany in the 1920s and early 1930s. After immigrating to the United States in 1933, the couple traveled regularly to Mexico and South America to study the art, architecture, and textile designs of pre-Columbian cultures.
Featuring previously unseen letters, manuscripts, and photographs by the artists, as well as lush color plates of their artworks, this catalogue is the first to document the influence of Central and South America on the Albers’s work. It also makes the case that their art, as we know it today, cannot be understood without acknowledging their pivotal encounters in Latin America, for Anni’s weavings, drawings, and painted studies demonstrate her deep knowledge of pre-Colombian textiles, and Josef’s paintings and photographs testify to the development of his unique sense of color in Mexico, as well as the formation of his independent concepts of photography and Formalism. One particularly stunning chapter, Hommage to the Pyramid includes Josef Albers’s photographic collages of South American Meso-American pyramids. The abstract, graphic quality of these images refers directly and surprisingly to both artists’s paintings and textiles.