Josef Albers - the Josef & Anni Albers Foundation

Josef Albers - the Josef & Anni Albers Foundation

Josef Albers (1888-1976) was an artist and educator—regarded as a visionary, a key player in the Bauhaus movement and a pioneering figure of the 20th century. His seminal book Interaction of Color (1963) is a cornerstone of art and design education, more than sixty years after its publication.

Alongside his equally influential partner, the artist Anni Albers (née Fleischmann), Josef Albers studied at the Bauhaus, where he eventually taught courses in design and drawing. Following the rise of Nazism in Germany, they emigrated to the United States in 1933 when Josef was invited to join the faculty at Black Mountain College. While teaching at Black Mountain, and then at Yale University, Albers continued to develop his experiential methodsculminating in the Interaction of Color, which he dedicated to his students.

“I have never taught art, I think. What I have taught is philosophy. I have never taught painting. Instead I have taught seeing.” Josef Albers (1968)

A gifted educator, Albers sought “to open eyes.” Interaction of Color is an intuitive and universal guide not only for using colours, but also for developing a sensitivity towards them. Fascinated by colour deception and relativity, Albers encouraged readers to experiment. His philosophy of openness was a through line in both his work and teaching and is one that continues to resonate with and influence generations of students and teachers.

Interaction of Color is an emancipating and generous framework. I can see its impact everywhere today, in the work of artists, architects, designers and many others,” says Nicholas Fox Weber, executive director of the Josef & Anni Albers Foundation.

Interaction of Color

Josef Albers’s Interaction of Color is a guide to teaching and understanding colour. Albers presents complex colour theory principles in approachable and intuitive ways–showing how colour perception is subjective, how colours interact with their surroundings, and how brightness and light play crucial roles. His pioneering approach offers a flexible way of seeing, learning about, and using colour.


Read more about the Josef Albers Color Interactions campaign here.

All images are courtesy of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation.