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Josef Albers

Born 1888, Bottrop, Germany
Died 1976, New Haven, USA

Initially, Josef Albers trained and worked as a school teacher before undertaking art training in Berlin and Munich and at the Bauhaus in Weimar from 1920-23. He taught at the Bauhaus (Weimar, Dessau and Berlin) until 1933 when it was closed by the Nazi regime.

Albers moved to the USA where he taught at the Black Mountain College in North Carolina until 1949 when he began work on his 'Homage to the Square' series. This series explored the relationships between colours by placing squares of defined colours within each other. Albers noted 'every perception of colour is an illusion and we do not see colours as they really are. In our perception they alter one another'.

By showing how colours influenced readings of spatial relationships, Albers raised ideas about the push-pull of space across a two dimensional surface which became of increasing significance in American painting of the 1960s. He was an influential teacher, moving to Yale University where he became chariman of the design department in 1955.

In 1994 the South Bank Centre organised a touring exhibition of Albers' work which came to the Mead Gallery. His work is held in most major collections across the world including the Tate Gallery, London and the Museum of Modern Art in New York as well as the Bauhaus Museum in Berlin.

Day and Night V
Day and Night IX