Josef & Anni Albers Foundation


Robert de Niro, Sr.

Hans Hofmann—who, along with Josef, was considered one of America’s preeminent art teachers—sent his gifted student Robert De Niro to Black Mountain to study with Josef. The Hofmann and Albers “schools” were considered to be polar opposites, but there was, at times, a rapport between the two teachers. Josef considered De Niro to be a fine young painter and took a personal interest in him, working with him on how he fit in with the rest of the student body (he was initially very much of an outsider) and then appealing to others to fund De Niro’s return to the school after the summer break. This is one of many relationships that has been misrepresented at times, with one source suggesting that De Niro threw his paintings out of the window in despair over Josef’s teaching; the two, in fact, had great mutual sympathy.

Josef and Robert de Niro, Sr. at Black Mountain College, ca. 1939–40