Albers and Mondrian

Mondrian had been a favorite artist of both Anni and Josef ever since his work and thinking became known through a publication at the Bauhaus. Josef said that he was always trying to get Piet Mondrian to lend some paintings to Black Mountain College, and Mondrian said he was willing, but whenever Josef inquired, the work was not yet finished and ready to show. Josef said that he told Mondrian, “Mondrian, in the US they have this wonderful electrical tape. Instead of repainting your black lines over and over in different widths, why don’t you do them first with tape until you know exactly what you want.” And the next time that Mondrian was in touch, he said, “Albers, if you had told me that earlier, I would have produced twice as many paintings.” We know only that Josef Albers claimed it—there are other versions of Mondrian’s discovery of tapes in the US—but he delighted in the memory.