The Drawings of Josef Albers, 1984

Published by Yale University Press

German Edition published by the Josef Albers Museum, in 1988

Shortly after Josef Albers's death in 1976, a scarcely known and surprising segment of his work was discovered: the representational drawings he made before going to the Bauhaus in 1920. These early works self-por-traits, portraits of friends and relatives, views of houses and public buildings in his native Westphalia, sketches of animals, travel scenes, nudes, caricatures of his students reveal a playful and informal side of Albers's character, as well as the roots of his fascination with the interplay of two- and three-dimensional space. Presented in conjunction with some of his later abstract drawings, which are characterized by the familiar geometry of his work from the Bauhaus on, they round out our sense of the complex but consistent themes that shaped his evolution as a pioneer painter, teacher, and color theorist.

Nicholas Fox Weber, who knew Albers well during the last years of the artist's life, introduces the selection of 142 drawings with an illustrated essay that weaves detailed information and observations about the works with insights into Albers's life and the development of his visual thinking. In the absence of a published biography or memoir, Weber's text is a welcome exploration of largely unrecognized aspects of the artist's work and personality.

Drawing on Albers's own statements, personal anecdotes, and life history, he gives us a refreshing and informed sense of this masterful figure of twentieth-century art.

The drawings are handsomely reproduced in two or four colors and are accompanied by a detailed catalogue. The book also includes a wide range of documentary and comparative illustrations.

Nicholas Fox Weber has written and lectured on various aspects of twentieth-century art.