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Josef Albers was born on 19 March 1888 in Bottrop, Germany.

He trained as a teacher from 1905 to 1908 and then taught for eight years. From 1913 to 1915 he studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin. He graduated as an art educator. From 1916 he studied at the Essen School of Decorative Arts and also worked as a teacher.

As a student at the Bauhaus in Weimar from 1920 to October 1923, Josef Albers attended the preliminary course of Johannes Itten and then set up a glass painting studio. Appointed journeyman in 1922, he became Master at the Bauhaus from October 1923 to April 1933. In his fundamental teaching at the Bauhaus, Josef Albers took as his themes construction and materials, their appearance and their representation. He created glass and stained glass assemblages, as well as typography projects, furniture and everyday objects made of glass and metal. Initially an expressionist, Albers later produced geometric abstract paintings.

When the Nazis closed the Bauhaus in 1933, he left Germany for the United States with Anni Albers, whom he had married in 1925. He taught for fifteen years at Black Mountain College. In 1950, he became head of the Department of Design at Yale University in New Haven until 1959. Since the 1940s, the main focus of his teaching and painting has been on the "optical effect of colour". Having most likely generated an impulse for the American avant-garde of the 1960s and 70s, Josef Albers can be considered a precursor of Op Art.

Both his work and his teaching are based on the complexity of the perceptual appreciation of simple coloured forms, in particular the square, to which he devoted the series "Homage to the Square" from 1950 onwards, in which he varied the colours of interlocking square patches.

He died on 25 March 1976 in New Haven, USA.

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Two galleries in Paris

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