Josef & Anni Albers Foundation


Anni and Josef at home

In the last years of their lives, the Alberses lived in as calm a manner as possible; the focus of their lives was the making of art. They never went out in the evenings, and their only social life was to go to the houses of friends—King-lui and Vivien Wu in New Haven, and Joseph and Olga Hirshhorn in Greenwich—for lunch. They loved good food, and relished Vivien Wu’s Hong Kong cooking and the Hirshhorns’ cook’s potato pancakes, always specially prepared for Josef. Otherwise, they would take visiting guests—people like Henri Cartier-Bresson or Lord Snowden, came to photograph them, or museum curators came to organize shows of their work—to the local steakhouse, where the Alberses and their guests were noticeably different from the rest of the clientele, most of whom were young business people or shoppers. Everything was a source of delight: the easily cleanable polyurethane-covered table tops, the salad bar with its hygienic plastic barrier and wonderful array of produce. At home, the Alberses ate simply but well, and worked during the days while having quiet evenings of reading (for Josef, nineteenth century German poetry; for Anni, everything from Lao Tse to American novels) or writing letters. When the telephone rang, it was generally an event, a rare contact with old friends or printmakers and others who assisted them in their work.

Josef and Anni in their living room at 8 North Forest Circle, New Haven, 1965. Photo: John T. Hill