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Leaf Study, ca. 1950–56,
Yale University
Kodachrome slide
Construction Study, ca. 1927,
Bauhaus Dessau, student: Lotte Gerson
silver gelatin print, photographer unknown, possibly Edmund Collein
Albers annotated photographs of this construction with the statement that it was over 80 cm tall.
Matière: stones and yellow paint on yellow background, ca 1941–49
Black Mountain College
Kodachrome slide
Color study: vibrating boundaries, ca. 1945–49
Black Mountain College
Kodachrome slide
Dogwood Leaves, ca. 1946–49
Black Mountain College, student: Ruth Asawa
oil and watercolor on paper
7 × 12.5 in. (17.8 × 30.8 cm)
Reordering study, wire screen, ca. 1926–33
Bauhaus Dessau
wire mesh
8 × 13.5 in. (20.3 × 34.3 cm)
Lettering study, Egyptienne "E”, ca. 1954–58
Yale University, student: Casey Miller
colored pencils on paper mounted on cardboard
12 × 16.8 in. (30.5 × 42.7 cm)
Folded paper construction, ca. 1943
Black Mountain College
black and white positive film in slide mount
Matière: coal, wood blocks, toothpicks, and cellophane on black fabric, ca. 1941–49
Black Mountain College
Kodachrome slide
Study in material characteristics: the effect of wire mesh on plasticine, ca. 1927–31
Bauhaus Dessau
silver gelatin print
Color study: free study in transparency, ca. 1941–49
Black Mountain College
color positive film in slide mount
Leaf study with reversed grounds, ca. 1945–55
Black Mountain College or Yale University
Kodachrome slide
Study in varied distances between lines of identical weights
Yale University, student: Orr Marshall
pencil on paper
12 × 17.75 in. (30.5 × 45 cm)
Matière: weathered wood and crumpled paper, ca. 1934–40
Black Mountain College
6 × 9 cm black and white negative film
Exercise in order: multiplication of profiles, ca. 1927
Bauhaus Dessau, student: Kurt Stolp
silver gelatin print
Color study: transparency / film color, ca. 1951–58
Yale University, student: Roland Peagle
color-aid paper mounted on cardboard
8.25 × 10.375 in. (21 × 26.3 cm)
Stacked Triangles, ca. 1946–49
Black Mountain College, student: Ruth Asawa
oil and watercolor on paper
5.5 × 12 in. (14 × 30.4 cm)
Folded paper construction: zig-zag folding, ca. 1937–47
Black Mountain College
black and white positive film in slide mount
Typewriter study: two pyramids created using two characters, ca. 1926–33
Bauhaus Dessau
typewriter ink on paper mounted on cardboard
11.75 × 17.25 in. (29.8 × 43.8 cm)
Fiber rearrangement: burlap, ca. 1939
Black Mountain College
burlap, tape
7.375 × 7.75 in. (18.7 × 19.6 cm)
Reordering study: “Volkswohl” ca. 1928–30
Bauhaus Dessau, student: Gertrude Herold
printed matter collaged on newsprint
8.25 × 11.625 in. (21 × 29.5 cm)
Color study: free study in transparency, ca. 1941–49
Black Mountain College
Kodachrome slide
Typofacture: newspaper word games, ca. 1929–31
Bauhaus Dessau, student: Fritz Tschaschnig
ink on paper mounted on cardboard
6.375 × 8 in. (16.2 × 20.3 cm)
Elizabeth Gellhorn (Resnick), ca. 1946–49
Black Mountain College, student: Ruth Asawa
ink on paper
17.125 × 22 in. (43.5 × 55.9 cm)
Matiere: Baking cups and dyed wool, ca. 1941–49
Black Mountain College
Kodachrome slide
Color study: transparency and spatial illusions, ca. 1941–49
Black Mountain College
Kodachrome slide
Folded paper constructions, ca. 1935–42
Black Mountain College
black and white positive film in slide mount
Color study: transparency / film color, ca. 1941–49
Black Mountain College
color positive film in slide mount
Drawing of pliers and scissors, ca. 1951–58
Yale University, student: Neil Welliver
pencil on paper
12 × 17.75 in. (30.5 × 45 cm)
Color study: make one color look like two, ca. 1951–58
Yale University, student: Livingston
color-aid paper on cardboard
6 × 8.5 in. (15.3 × 21.6 cm)
Color study: transparency and overlapping planes, ca. 1948
Black Mountain College, student: Ernest Costa,
colored paper on cardboard
9.75 × 12 in. (24.7 × 30.5 cm)
Folded paper construction, n.d.
Black Mountain College or Yale University
black and white positive film in slide mount
Leaf study, ca. 1941–55
Black Mountain College or Yale University
Kodachrome slide
Leaf study, ca. 1941–49
Black Mountain College
Kodachrome slide
Still life, ca. 1941–49
Black Mountain College
Kodachrome slide
Matière: lace, gear, leather, and fuzz on red background, ca. 1941–49
Black Mountain College
Kodachrome slide

Throughout his more than thirty years of art instruction at the Bauhaus, Black Mountain College, Yale, and elsewhere, Josef Albers carefully collected and documented the classroom exercises produced by his students. He saved or photographed hundreds of drawings, color studies, and other works, and the resulting collection of photographs, slides, and student exercises is compelling, concrete evidence of the astonishing fecundity and diversity of Albers’ teaching.

Albers prized studies that excited him, including works that showed technical brilliance, a creative take on an old problem, or daring solutions that didn’t quite succeed. In addition to preserving favorite exercises, documenting the work his students produced also allowed Albers to gauge the efficacy of his teaching and to explain his teaching to others. Albers’ two major publications on his teaching, Interaction of Color (1963) and Search vs. Research (1969), both prominently feature student work.