DATE: 3/2/2011 | BY ALLIE PISARRO-GRANT
If you are familiar with contemporary female artist Tauba Auerbach’s work, you know how deep Anni Albers’ impact as a visual thinker has been. Albers is perhaps the most renowned textile designer of the twentieth century. In 1949, The Museum of Modern Art in NY granted Albers the first show dedicated solely to woven textiles. This immense accomplishment came just a decade after she and husband Josef Albers emigrated to the US, fleeing the Nazis after the closure of the Bauhaus.
The breadth of her influence on design and in art is in large part due to her position as a teacher at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, where she worked with countless young students who would later become the Cy Twomblys and Kenneth Nolands of the later twentieth Century, and made lifelong connections to other faculty members, including Willem and Elaine de Kooning, Buckminster Fuller, Ben Shahn, Robert Motherwell and Franz Kline, among others.
The following text is excerpted from Nicholas Fox Weber's essay "Anni Albers as a Printmaker", in The Prints of Anni Albers: Catalogue Raisonné. Images reproduced below are also from the catalogue.
"Preparing to make her Triadic prints, Anni carefully weighed and arranged the components in study sketches, the first small ones often done on graph paper.
She organized the surfaces without ever allowing repetition or symmetry. Her constructions are full of variation, and have a subtle sense of balance that never yields a formula, and that provides continuous visual exercise and diversion. Anni employed subtle systems to strengthen her constructions.
She allowed the rigorous rules of a well-ordered world to guide her toward her goal of clear composition. Like Klee, she depended for her guidance on certain processes in nature.
Systems implicit in botanical and biological growth preoccupied her. She longed to escape human anxiety in her art; she had no wish to reflect whatever anguish she might have felt, either because of personal or worldly issues, and in that way was very much the opposite of many of the other artists of the era.
As a student, having always believed that Johann Wolfgang von Goethe had an aura about him, she had been deeply impressed by his Metamorphosis of Plants. That treatise is an inquiry into an underlying system of regularity with modification in which like units, repeated with variations, make up the structures of entire organisms.
Anni did not set out to illustrate these laws in her prints, but, having absorbed them, she transmitted the sort of patterns she had gleaned from the writing that excited her so much."
Excerpted from Nicholas Fox Weber's essay Anni Albers as a Printmaker, in The Prints of Anni Albers: Catalogue Raisonné. Images reproduced below are also from the catalog. Thanks to the publisher, RM.
The Prints of Anni Albers: Catalogue Raisonné
RM/THE JOSEF AND ANNI ALBERS FOUNDATIONClth, 9.25 x 12.25 in. / 200 pgs / 200 color / 30 b&w.