Anni Albers: Design Pioneer

As one of the most important abstract artists of the twentieth-century, Anni Albers (1899–1994) transformed the way weaving could be understood as a medium for art, design and architecture. Trained at the Bauhaus where she later taught, Albers forged a friendship and professional collaboration with architect Philip Johnson, who organized an invitation for Albers and her husband to teach at the newly founded Black Mountain College in North Carolina after meeting the couple in 1932 in Berlin. In 1949, as he was building the Glass House, Johnson co-curated Anni Albers: Textiles, the first solo exhibition by a female artist at The Museum of Modern Art in New York. Johnson also commissioned Albers to create drapery material for the Rockefeller Guest House (1949–1950), built as a private showcase for Blanchette Rockefeller’s modern art collection on East 52nd Street in Manhattan.

In 2020, The Glass House and the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation are collaborating on a new bedspread and window panels based on original works by Anni Albers. These items will be installed in the Glass House’s sleeping area as the first installment of Pliable Plane, a new series in which we invite an artist or designer to refashion the Glass House interior with site-responsive textiles. The series is named for a 1957 essay by Anni Albers about the relationship between textiles and architecture.

Pliable Plane: Anni Albers is a part of “Where Women Made History,” the National Trust’s multi-year initiative to honor the female leaders, thinkers, activists, and ground-breakers who contributed to American history and culture, and to protect the places where these women made their mark. Learn more and support our efforts at savingplaces.org/womens-history.

Special thanks to the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation

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