Anni and Josef Albers Honored in New Exhibition at the National Gallery

Anni and Josef Albers is free and on display at the National Gallery in Kamberri/Canberra from 8 Jun to 22 Sep 2024.

By: Apr. 18, 2024
Anni and Josef Albers Honored in New Exhibition at the National Gallery
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The National Gallery of Australia has announced the first Australian exhibition dedicated to legendary figures of the Bauhaus art movement – Anni and Josef Albers. 

An art world power couple, the Alberses were at the forefront of artistic innovation throughout the twentieth century and leading pioneers of modernism.

On display from 8 June to 22 September 2024, Anni and Josef Albers showcases how the Bauhaus art movement ignited artistic expression across Europe and set the foundation for the Alberses' ground-breaking work across weaving, painting and printmaking.

Guided by Josef’s explosive use of colour and Anni’s command of pattern making and weaving, the exhibition brings together 119 works by the artists and their contemporaries, sourced from the National Gallery’s collection and a number of generous lenders.

Key works featured in the exhibition include Anni Albers' Meander and Mountainous series and Josef’s Homage to the Square: On an Early Sky, Gray Instrumentation and White line Square series, alongside works by Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack, Paul Klee, Gunta Stölzl and Lotte Stam-Beese.

Meeting in 1922 at the famous Bauhaus school in Weimar, Germany, Anni and Josef fell in love and married three years later. During their artistic careers, they influenced the process of artmaking and the use of colour, sharing this through their art and teachings.

National Gallery Director Dr Nick Mitzevich said, ‘The Alberses are iconic figures in the narrative of modernism, yet neither have been shown in a dedicated exhibition in Australia. It is exciting to have the opportunity to recognise Anni and Josef’s individual and combined contribution to art history in this exhibition at the National Gallery.’

Anni and Josef were two of the most persistent forces dedicated to implementing the Bauhaus vision. Rising tensions in Europe, along with Anni’s Jewish heritage, forced the couple to flee Germany for America in 1934 where they changed the course of art history.

In 1963, some 40 years after they met, the couple were introduced to up-and-coming printer Kenneth Tyler. Together Anni, Josef and Tyler bonded over innovative art practices, leading to a marriage of craftmanship, collaboration and accessible high-quality art.

National Gallery Kenneth E. Tyler Curator, International Prints and Drawings, Imogen Dixon-Smith said, ‘the works highlight an art form often overlooked, both historically and in a contemporary context.’

‘Anni and Josef shared radical new ideas related to the perception of colour, the organisation of form and the integration of art into life. While each artist sustained their own unique practice, they shared a commitment to the early modernist idea that art should no longer be concerned with representation. They stated that their art existed ‘to open eyes’ and insisted that art should be experiential and affecting, creating abstract works with a simple, powerful beauty. Together, Anni and Josef’s approaches and commitment to artistic practice formed an unparalleled union between two revolutionary artists’.

Anni and Josef Albers also features works by fellow Bauhaus students represented in the national collection.

Anni and Josef Albers is the first book to support an exhibition of the artists’ work in Australia. A series of original texts explore the influence of the Bauhaus on the long and significant careers of both artists and how their connection to the experimental school brought their work and ideas to Australia through collaboration with creatives including artist Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack, architect Harry Seidler and master printer and philanthropist Kenneth Tyler.

The publication includes previously unpublished material from the Kenneth E Tyler archive, including images, studies and phone transcripts that demonstrate the close working relationship between the three collaborators. Exquisitely illustrated with works from the national collection that tease out the artists’ varied sources of inspiration, the publication captures the evolution of these innovative prints.

This publication has been produced with the support of key contributor and esteemed architect Penelope Seidler AM.

Anni and Josef Albers is free and on display at the National Gallery in Kamberri/Canberra from 8 Jun to 22 Sep 2024.

Anni and Josef Albers is a Kenneth E. Tyler Collection exhibition. The National Gallery gratefully acknowledges the generous support of Exhibition Patron Penelope Seidler AM.

Curator: Imogen Dixon-Smith, Kenneth E. Tyler Curator, International Prints and Drawings



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