Oral history interview with Josef Albers
Portions of this collection are digitized

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.albersj68
Creators:
Albers, Josef
Fesci, Sevim
Dates:
1968 June 22-July 5
Languages:
English
.
Physical Description:
24 Pages
Transcript
Repository:

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
An interview of Josef Albers conducted 1968 June 22-July 5, by Sevim Fesci, for the Archives of American Art.
Scope and Contents
This interview was conducted in New Haven, Connecticut. Albers speaks of his childhood in the industrial area of Westphalia, Germany; his father's influence as a house painter and set designer; his young interest in technical toys; his educational history, beginning at the Royal Art School, an art teacher prep school; his education in art history in conjunction with fine arts; his brief experience teaching in public schools; his time studying at the Applied Art School in Essen while living and teaching in Berlin; and the beginning of professional career after having passed his exam in Berlin in 1915.
Scope and Contents
He discusses the influence of the European movements/artists, Die Brucke; Schmidt-Rottluff, Heckel, and Kirchner; his move to Munich and time spent working with Stuck (the teacher of Kandinsky and Klee); his eventual shift to the Bauhaus working in collage and stained glass under Itten; his refusal to do the traditional apprenticeship at the Bauhaus and surprising success with stained glass while striking out on his own; his initial experiments while working in the new studio for stained glass at the Bauhaus with frosting (a.k.a. thermometer style); his move from collage to montage; his disbelief in the use of past art as a source for current art; his distaste for the concept of art as self-expression; his use of repetitive forms in his painting as a method of "solving the problem;" his belief that the spectator makes the vision of the artist more lively; his belief that he teaches philosophy (how to see) not technique (how to paint); the fine line between influencing students and creating disciples; color as the most relative medium in art and a study of ourselves; his use of squares (the most man-made form), beginning in 1949; the role of art in society to reveal visually the attitude of our mentality; and his belief as to the future of art as being a further consideration of order.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Josef Albers (1888-1976) was a painter and educator in New Haven, Connecticut.

Administration
Immediate Source of Acquisition
This interview is part of the Archives' Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others.

General
General
Originally recorded on 1 sound tape reel. Reformatted in 2010 as 4 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hrs., 11 min.

Digital Content

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Art, American Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art teachers -- Connecticut -- New Haven -- Interviews Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Die Brücke (Dresden) Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- Connecticut -- New Haven -- Interviews Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Collagists Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Stained glass artists Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Heckel, Erich, 1883-1970 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Itten, Johannes, 1888-1967 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kirchner, Ernst Ludwig, 1880-1938 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Schmidt-Rottluff, Karl, 1884-1976 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Stuck, Franz, Ritter von, 1863-1928 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bauhaus Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/