Not Currently on Display
‘Connections’ is a portfolio of screenprints created by Anni Albers between 1925 and 1983. The nine prints in the portfolio represent an autobiography of sorts, in which Albers reflects on her career as a designer. The reference points range from her time as a student at the Bauhaus School in Germany, in the 1920s, to her move to New Haven, Connecticut, in 1950, where she designed textiles for industry.
With verticals 1946 dates from the period when Albers taught at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, an experimental school that shared similar values to the Bauhaus. The design corresponds with one of her ‘pictorial weavings’ of the same name, in the collection of the Guggenheim Bilbao, in Spain. With verticals 1946 was likely inspired by her travels to Mexico and South America, where Albers learnt traditional weaving techniques, including how to work with a backstrap loom.
Anni Albers (born Annelise Else Frieda Fleischmann) is regarded as one of the most influential textile artists and printmakers of the twentieth century. In 1922, she joined the Bauhaus School in Weimar, Germany, enrolling in the weaving workshop. It was at the loom that she found a way to bridge the worlds of art and design, experimenting with modernist geometric designs, a radical use of colour and the tactile qualities of textiles.1 It was also at the Bauhaus that she met her future husband, the colour theorist Josef Albers (1888–1976).
In 1930, Anni Albers completed her weaving studies, and in 1931, she succeeded Gunta Stölzl as the head of the weaving workshop. Under pressure from the National Socialist Party (the Nazi Party), the Bauhaus School closed in 1933, and the Albers relocated to the United States.2 From the 1940s to the 1970s, they made frequent trips to Mexico and South America, where Anni learnt traditional weaving practices and techniques. In 1965, she published On Weaving, a book detailing her research on the theory, practice and history of weaving, which was dedicated to her ‘great teachers, the weavers of ancient Peru’.3
During the 1960s, Albers discovered printmaking and lithography, and with these new mediums, she continued to explore textile-related concerns — pattern, line and texture.4
1 Briony Fer, ‘Anni Albers: Weaving magic’. Tate Etc., 10 October 2018, <tate.org.uk/tate-etc/issue-44-autumn-2018/anni-albers-weaving-magic-briony-fer>, viewed August 2020.
2 Priyesh Mistry, ‘Anni Albers 1899–1994’, Tate, October 2018, <tate.org.uk/art/artists/anni-albers-3067>, accessed August 2020.
3 Anni Albers, On Weaving, Wesleyan University Press, Middleton, Conn., 1965; reprinted by Dover Publications, Mineola, New York, 2003.
4 Mistry, ‘Anni Albers 1899–1994’.