Anni Albers

GERMANY (1899–1994)
With the belief that aesthetics should be a consideration in every aspect of daily life, Anni Albers (born Annelise Fleischmann) joined the Bauhaus as a student in 1922. Though she wanted to be a painter, Albers and other female students like Gunta Stölzl were encouraged to join the Weaving Workshop, which included a class taught by Paul Klee. Albers took to this medium enthusiastically, experimenting with new materials for weaving and elevating textiles from merely a craft to an art form.

It was in her first year that Anni met fellow Bauhaus student Josef Albers, the artist and teacher who would soon become her husband and partner in the Modern movement. In 1929, she designed an innovative sound-absorbing wall covering made out of cellophane, a recently invented material. Albers received her Bauhaus diploma for this work, which was installed in the auditorium of a trade union school.

When the Nazis forced the Bauhaus to close in 1933, the couple emigrated to the United States, both taking teaching positions at Black Mountain College in North Carolina. Their many trips to Mexico and Cuba, where they marveled at the artistry of woven ponchos, earthenware and other everyday items, inspired some of Albers’ greatest weavings. In 1951, Albers began a three-decades-long collaboration with KnollTextiles, creating five designs for the company. In 1974, she designed éclat (pronounced a-clat) as a printed textile; KnollTextiles reintroduced the fabric in 2007, with the pattern woven directly into the upholstery. Anni Albers believed that art exists beyond the realm of trends and style, illustrated by her work’s enduring effect on the medium of textile design.