Josef & Anni Albers Foundation


Anni’s parents’ telephone

Anni rarely acknowledged the luxurious circumstances of her youth, but she once told her lawyer, Lee Eastman, and others who were present that when it was proposed to her grandfather that he have a telephone—at the time, it would have been among the very first in Berlin—he replied, “Bells are only for domestics.” Lee had just told the story of a phone call from a rather upset-sounding Willem De Kooning, who was worried because he thought that he had just received a phone bill for over five thousand dollars. Lee told De Kooning, with a laugh, “Don’t worry, Bill, that’s not a phone bill. The five thousand dollars is the amount of your dividend from your AT&T stock.