Albers, Josef: POEMS AND DRAWINGS / GEDICHTE UND ZEICHNUNGEN. New York: George Wittenborn, 1961.

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Josef Albers

Josef Albers: POEMS AND DRAWINGS  /  GEDICHTE UND ZEICHNUNGEN. New York: George Wittenborn, 1961. Second edition, with new material from the 1958 Readymade Press edition. Text in English & German. Oblong quarto. Thick printed wrappers. Frosted and printed acetate sleeve.  [68] pp. 17 poems and 22 plates printed on leaves folded in the Japanese style.  Short ink gift inscription, otherwise interior unmarked and very clean.  Tiny chips to acetate sleeve spine heel and crown. faint wear overall. A very good to nearly fine copy of this elegant production.

9.5 x 8.25 book with 17 poems and 22 plates printed on leaves folded in the Japanese style. Design and sequence by Norman Ives. In Poems and Drawings, first published in 1958, Josef Albers attempted to penetrate the meaning of art and life by the simplest, most disciplined means. This project was extremely important to Albers, who used its format to create complementary forms in both word and line that appear deceptively simple until they begin to disclose the author’s insights into nature, art, and life. Conceived as a kind of artist’s book, the publication features 22 of Albers’s refined line drawings alongside the same number of his original poems — each appearing in both English and German.

Josef Albers (1888 – 1976) was a German-born American artist and educator whose work formed the basis of some of the most influential and far-reaching art education programs of the twentieth century.

Albers enrolled as a student in the Vorkurs of Johannes Itten at the Weimar Bauhaus in 1920. Although Albers had studied painting, it was as a maker of stained glass that he joined the faculty of the Bauhaus in 1922, approaching his chosen medium as a component of architecture and as a stand-alone art form. Walter Gropius, asked him in 1923 to teach in the preliminary course ‘Werklehre' of the department of design to introduce newcomers to the principles of handicrafts.

In 1925, Albers was promoted to professor, the year the Bauhaus moved to Dessau. At this time, he married Anni Albers (née Fleischmann) who was a student there. His work in Dessau included designing furniture and working with glass. As a younger art teacher, he was teaching at the Bauhaus among artists who included Oskar Schlemmer, Wassily Kandinsky, and Paul Klee. The so-called form master, Klee taught the formal aspects in the glass workshops where Albers was the crafts master; they cooperated for several years.

With the closure of the Bauhaus under Nazi pressure in 1933 the artists dispersed, most leaving the country. Albers emigrated to the United States. The architect Philip Johnson, then a curator at the Museum of Modern Art, arranged for Albers to be offered a job as head of a new art school, Black Mountain College, in North Carolina. In November 1933, he joined the faculty of the college where he was the head of the painting program until 1949.