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Josef Albers: to Open Eyes

Josef Albers (1888-1976) has long been admired for his progressive vision as an artist and designer who blurred distinctions between fine and applied art, but rarely has his influence as a teacher been examined with such depth and detail. The German-born artist/educator was a remarkable classroom performer whose colorful language, wit, and dramatic flair held his students spellbound and turned his lessons into high adventure. Whether at the Bauhaus in prewar Germany, Black Mountain College in rural North Carolina during the 1930s and 1940s, or at Yale in the 1950s, Albers-the-teacher was driven by one thing: the desire to open his students' eyes to a different way of perceiving art and, ultimately, life.The son of a house painter and decorator in Germany's northwest Ruhr region, Albers grew up surrounded by artisans and learned at an early age to paint, cut stone, and craft wood. Although his ambition had always been to become an artist, Albers entered teacher's training college at his father's insistence and spent his first professional year teaching six- to fourteen-year-olds in a single-classroom school. Later experience at the Koniglichen Kunstschule in Berlin's rough-and-tumble Alexanderplatz neighborhood and exposure to the city's hothouse cultural atmosphere inspired the young Albers to merge his love for art and education - a decision that would have an impact on generations of artists to come in both Europe and the United States."Josef Albers: To Open Eyes" takes the reader through Albers' life in teaching - from his first years at the pioneering but politically fraught Bauhaus; to his 1933 emigration to the United States, where he and his wife Anni became founding members and teachers at the experimental start-up Black Mountain College; and again to his 1950 appointment to head up Yale University's newly restructured Department of Design. Throughout his 40 years in education, Albers influenced everyone he encountered not, as one former student says, as a 'tour guide of the world of art, but rather as a living embodiment of that world'.
Product Details

Table of Contents

Foreword by Nicholas Fox Weber"A Short History of Josef Albers" by Brenda Danilowitz"Albers as Teacher" by Frederick A. HorowitzI. IntroductionII. Albers the TeacherIII. DesignIV. Basic DrawingV. The Color CourseVI. The Painting CoursesVII. Albers's Teaching LegacyNotesChronology of Albers's Teaching Career

About the Author

Brenda Danilowitz is the chief curator of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation and has written extensively on Josef Albers for a variety of publications. Frederick A. Horowitz, a former student of Josef Albers's at Yale in the 1950s, teaches art at Washtenaw College in Michigan .


"Oversized, sumptuously illustrated, and reasonably priced... Danilowitz offers a rich history of Alber's life and career... She teases out the various threads that tie Alber's teaching to the history of progressive education... Horowitz recounts Alber's classroom practice in fascinating documentary detail."-Modern Painters "To Open Eyes does a superb job of detailing Albers' impact not just as a colourist but also as an educator... Sprightly and ably written [...], beautifully illustrated and gorgeously printed and designed. Go. Buy. Enjoy."-The Art Book "This is a wonderful book for high school libraries, community art centers, and colleges and universities."-Arts and Activities "Horowitz and Danilowitz (Josef and Anni Albers Foundation) succeed in presenting a solid overview of Albers' instructional approach with background research that included interviews with more than 180 of his former students and associates. The volume is richly illustrated with art reproductions, photographs, and instructional exercises."-CHOICE "This is the most comprehensive book yet written on Albers, and it is richly illustrated with his own work, that of his students, and archival photography from as long ago as 1899."-Interior Design "Horowitz, a former student of Albers, and Danilowitz, chief curator of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, are the first to examine Albers's teaching methods."-Library Journal "This book couldn't have appeared at a better time. It's also a fascinating intellectual journey in itself."-The Wall Street Journal

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