(Bottrop, Germany 1888 – New Haven, Connecticut 1975)
Accomplished designer, photographer, typographer, printmaker, and poet, Albers is best known as pioneering abstract painter and color theorist. In the 1920s he became first a student and then a professor at Bauhaus, working mainly in glass and metal. In 1933, when the Nazis closed the school, Albers emigrated to the United States and joined the faculty of Black Mountain College, North Carolina, where he ran the painting program until 1949. Among his students were Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, Motherwell, and De Kooning. From 1950 to 1958 he taught at Yale University, New Haven. His influence was important for “hard-edge” abstract painters, who drew on his use of patterns and intense colors, while op and conceptual artists further explored his interest in perception. In 1949 he began his most famous Homage to the Square series that explored in hundreds of paintings and prints, with a very strict approach to composition, the chromatic interactions of flat colored squares arranged concentrically on the canvas. A major Albers travelling exhibition was organized by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, from 1965 to 1967, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, held in 1971 a retrospective of his work, the first for a living artist.