Hazel Larsen Archer (Student 1944-1948, Faculty Photography 1949-1953) (b.1921-d.2001), Portrait of Anni Albers, ca. 1948. Gelatin silver print. Courtesy of the Estate of Hazel Larsen Archer

Anni Albers (Faculty Weaving and Textile Design 1933-1949) (b.1899-d.1994)

Anni Albers arrived at the Bauhaus in 1922, intending to study the visual arts. The conventions of the Bauhaus, which restricted their significant female student body to the weaving workshop, led her down a new path, one that would forever change the role of textiles in modern and contemporary fine art. In 1933, after the Bauhaus closed due to pressure exerted by the Nazis, Anni’s husband Josef Albers was invited to lead the art program at Black Mountain College. The pair came to the United States by ship, landing in New York, and arriving in Black Mountain in December 1933. Albers brought with her those principles that she had learned as a student and instructor of weaving at the Bauhaus, establishing her own workshop at BMC and centering her teachings in materiality and a deep connection with pre-Columbian textiles.

Known for her innovative use of materials and distinctly modern designs, Albers utilized the loom as a tool to connect with the foundations of design while innovating and establishing new technologies such as light and soundproof room dividers. By utilizing synthetic and natural fibers, she created a new vocabulary in textiles which gained recognition within the world of fine art, bringing her work out of the realm of craft and establishing textiles as a fine art. In 1945, Albers was featured in the group exhibition Modern Textiles at the Museum of Modern Art, followed in 1949 with a solo exhibition.