The Wall Street Journal identifies Anni and Josef Albers as the preeminent modernist power couple

For longevity and aesthetic give-and-take, no one beats Anni and Josef, argues the newspaper’s Ann Landi
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Josef and Anni Albers, c. 1935. Courtesy and copyright © 2020 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London
Josef and Anni Albers, c. 1935. Courtesy and copyright © 2020 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London

Who were the true power couples of modernism? This is more than an artsy parlour game. Over the past few years, many gallery goers have managed to reassess the work of, say, the artist Lee Krasner, Jackson Pollock’s wife, or Elaine de Kooning, fellow painter and Willem de Kooning’s spouse.

The Wall Street Journal lists others, such as the photographer and curator Alfred Stieglitz and the painter Georgia O’Keeffe; and fellow abstract expressionists Helen Frankenthaler and Robert Motherwell.

However, the paper’s regular contributor Ann Landi singles out one duo in art and life who best all the rest. “For sheer longevity and high-voltage aesthetic give-and-take, none rivals the union of Anni and Josef Albers,” Landi writes in her review of Anni & Josef Albers.

Landi admires the couple, “who met at the Bauhaus in Weimar, Germany, arrived in the U.S. to teach at Black Mountain College in 1933, and were married for 51 happy and productive years."

 

Josef and Anni Albers in their living room, 8 North Forest Circle, New Haven, Connecticut, c. 1965. Photo © John T. Hill
Josef and Anni Albers in their living room, 8 North Forest Circle, New Haven, Connecticut, c. 1965. Photo © John T. Hill

There have been plenty of books and exhibitions devoted to Josef’s work, as Landi notes. However, the combination of the two lives in one book not only serves to redress this balance; it also makes for a hugely satisfying read.

In her piece, Landi applauds how author Nicholas Fox Weber approaches his subjects, highlighting how the book is “not so much straightforward biography as a smorgasbord of chapters, long and short, detailing the artists’ lives but also examining their relationships with students, collectors, mathematical systems, pre-Columbian art, Duccio and Giotto, Paul Klee and Marcel Breuer (among others), along with the couple’s own tastes in dress, furnishings and even food." Landi concludes by writing: “With its staggering array of photos and reproductions, this is a book meant to be browsed and savoured rather than read straight through.”

 

Anni & Josef Albers

Care to browse, savour, or read straight through your own copy of Anni & Josef Albers? Then order your copy here.  Meanwhile, for more on art made in collaboration with other artists, take a look at Co-Art.


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