Josef Albers (1888-1976) was an American-German artist best known for his iconic color square paintings, better known as his Homage to the Square series. Born on March 19, 1888 in Bottrop, Germany, he was a student of the famed colorist Johannes Itten at the Bauhaus in Weimar. Joining the Bauhaus in 1922 as a stained glass maker, he later became a professor at the Dessau location in 1925, teaching courses in both design and drawing.
Albers then went on to become the head of the design program at Yale University during the 1950s. His book Interaction of Color, published in 1963, remains one of the most influential and invaluable texts used in contemporary arts education. He also hosted workshops on the fundamentals of design, drawing, and color at the Harvard School of Design, the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Ulm, Germany, and many more at various universities across the U.S. and Latin America.
Albers said his goal as a teacher was "to open eyes." You can’t be an artist, Albers reasoned, unless and until you had mindfully explored the visual field through its key elements: line, shape, color, and texture. What do we actually see? How well do we see it? How can we translate our discoveries into meaningful work? These concerns were his focus of art training.
Today, his works are held in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Tate Gallery in London, among others.