Josef Albers is widely recognized as a crucial figure in 20th-century art, both as an independent practitioner and as a teacher at the Bauhaus, Black Mountain College and Yale University. Albers made paintings, drawings and prints and designed furniture and typography, all of which have been extensively collected, exhibited, and studied at The Museum of Modern Art. Arguably the least familiar aspect of his extraordinary career was his inventive engagement with photography, only widely known after his death, including his production of approximately seventy photo-collages that feature photographs he made at the Bauhaus between 1928 and 1932. These works anticipate concerns that he would pursue throughout his career - the effects of adjacency, the exploration of colour through white, black and grey, and the delicate balance between handcraft and industrial and mechanical form. Albers' photographs were first shown at MoMA in a modest exhibition in 1988, when the Museum acquired two photo-collages. In 2015, the Museum acquired ten additional photo-collages, making its collection of this key aspect of Albers's practice the most substantial anywhere outside the Albers Foundation.
This publication reproduces each of the photo-collages Albers made at the Bauhaus, presenting the scope of this achievement for the first time and providing an unparalleled opportunity to explore the nuanced relationship between form and image. An introductory essay by Sarah Hermanson Meister situates them within the contexts of modernist photography and of Albers's practice.