This volume provides a fascinating study of the revolutionary painter and teacher, Josef Albers (1888-1976). Albers began his teaching career in 1923, when Walter Gropius invited him to join the faculty of the Bauhaus in Germany, where he quickly replaced the school's standard course curriculum with his own innovative methods. After moving to the United States, he taught at Black Mountain College in North Carolina and then at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut until he retired in 1954. Overall, Albers's passionate commitment to teaching was matched only by his devotion to his own artistic development. While he is widely perceived as a strong-minded theoretician, he was, in fact, as this volume reveals, against rigid dogma and he encouraged his students to develop lively and original solutions to his many and varied design exercises. On their first day in his classroom, Albers's students were informed that his goal was to educate their eyes and that he was going to teach them how to think and to see, an agenda belied by the somewhat prosaic course names "Basic Drawing" and "Basic Design."
Overall, as a thinker, writer (Albers's important volume The Interaction of Color was published in 1963 by Yale) and educator he has directly and indirectly influenced generations of established artists, including Robert Mangold, Robert Rauschenberg, and Donald Judd, among many others. This book provides not only a compelling study of a key figure of 20th century art, but also ponders what constitutes art and how it is made.