Josef Albers (1888 - 1976), was a German artist and educator whose work, both in Europe and in the United States, formed the basis of some of the most influential and far-reaching art education programs of the 20th century.
Born in Bottrop, Westphalia, on March 19, 1888, Albers studied art in Berlin, Essen, and Munich before enrolling as a student at the prestigious Weimar Bauhaus in 1920. He began teaching in the Department of Design in 1923, and was promoted to Professor in 1925, the year the Bauhaus moved to Dessau.
With the closure of the Bauhaus under Nazi pressure in 1933, Albers emigrated to the United States and joined the faculty of Black Mountain College, North Carolina, where he ran the painting program until 1949. From 1950 to 1958, Albers headed the Department of Design at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.
Accomplished as a designer, photographer, typographer, printmaker and poet, Albers is best remembered for his work as an abstract painter. He favored a very disciplined approach to composition, and published several widely-read books and articles on the theory of form and color. Most famous of all are the dozens of paintings from his series "Homage to the Square," begun in 1949, in which Albers explored chromatic variations on a theme of flat colored squares arranged concentrically on the canvas.
Albers' theories on art and education were formative for the next generation of artists. His own paintings form the foundation of both hard-edge abstraction and Op art. After retiring from Yale, Albers continued to live and work in New Haven with his wife, textile artist Anni Albers, until his death on March 26, 1976.