20th Century Textile Porn by Bauhaus Artist Anni Albers
We love a unique textile! Intricate or minimal, color rich or monotone, textured or smooth— every good garment starts with a solid textile. For contemporary textile inspiration, many designers look to the past. As it turns out, one 20th century textile artist is still influencing designers almost a century later. Before the textile and pattern porn of Ace&Jig or Dusen Dusen— there was Anni Albers.
Albers— a German born textile artist and printmaker— discovered her love for the loom at Bauhaus—a prominent German art school (in operation from 1919 to 1933) known for its influential modern style. Combining crafts and fine art, Bauhaus supported and educated a diverse crop of artists. Alber’s wanted to be a painter, but found her calling as a weaver after a preliminary course on campus and joined the weaving workshop in 1923. She found the strict grid of the loom to be stabilizing in comparison to free painting. Producing both industrial mass production textiles and unique weavings, Alber’s completed her Diploma with a sound absorbing, light reflecting curtain made of cotton and cellophane. A year later, she became head of the weaving workshop at Bauhaus and started teaching.
By 1933, the National Socialists came to power, prompting Anni— a German of Jewish descent—and her Bauhaus painter spouse Josef Albers to emigrate to the states. They both taught at Black Mountain College and traveled to Mexico and South America on and off for forty years to gather artistic inspiration. They had a mutual life-long fascination with abstraction and complimentary artistic styles. In 1949, Anni was the first female textile artist to have a solo exhibition at the MOMA and numerous exhibitions that followed. And, true to form, she worked on textile design up to her death in 1994. Check out Anni Alber’s intricate, influential work and minimalist style for a taste of our favorite contemporary designers historical inspiration.
Albers, Anni. Free-Hanging Room Divider. 1949.
Albers, Anni. Tablecloth Fabric Sample. 1930.
Albers, Anni. Red and Blue Layers. 1954. cotton.
Albers, Anni. With Verticals. 1946. cotton and linen.
Albers, Anni. Red Meander. 1954. linen and cotton.
Albers, Anni. Preliminary Design for Wall Hanging. 1926.
Albers, Anni. Woven Fabric Sample. After 1933.
Albers, Annie. Drawing For Rug. 1959
Images via Moma.