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Anni Albers (Annelise Fleischmann) was born in Berlin on June 12, 1899. She studied under the impressionist painter Martin Branderburg from 1916 to 1919 and attended the School of Applied Arts in Hamburg in 1920. In 1922 she enrolled at the Bauhaus in Weimar, where she met Josef Albers, and the following year joined the school’s weaving workshop. She married Albers in 1925 and moved with him to Dessau, where the school had been transferred. While at the Bauhaus, in 1927, she took Paul Klee’s classes on design which were developed especially for the weaving workshop; she also designed wall tapestries and curtains for the Theatre Café Altes in Dessau and the stage curtain of the Oppeln theater. In 1930 she earned her diploma from the Bahaus after weaving the wall tapestries for the auditorium in Bernau, and the following year she was appointed head of the school’s weaving workshop.
Following the school’s closure in 1933, she and her husband decided to move to the U.S., where she accepted a teaching post at the Black Mountain College in North Carolina and was named Associate Art Professor. She obtained American citizenship in 1939 and in the 1940s started weaving small-sized tapestries, which she then mounted on linen and framed. In 1949 she and her husband moved to New York, where the exhibition Anni Albers Textiles took place at The Museum of Modern Art. It was the first retrospective ever presented by a museum that was dedicated solely to the work of a textile artist. A year later Mr. and Mrs. Albers moved to New Haven, Connecticut, where Anni continued to weave, hold conferences, and organize exhibitions.
Anni was also the author of many articles and books: On Designing was published in 1959 and On Weaving in 1965. She first approached lithography in 1963 and from 1970 onwards decided to dedicate herself exclusively to graphic art. In 1977 the Brooklyn Museum presented the exhibition Anni Albers: Prints and Drawings, which offered a comprehensive view of her works on paper. In 1985 the Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C., held a retrospective exhibition of the artist’s textile and graphic work, which then traveled to the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut, the following year. In 1990 Anni received honorary degrees from the Royal College of Art, London, and from the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence. She died in Orange, Connecticut, on May 9, 1994.