Woven in Time: The Importance of Anni Albers

This article was previously published in Issue 19, ABSENCE (December 2018).


The idea that only weaving and ceramics art is suitable for women would not stand today, yet this was a belief that held true at the Bauhaus school, known for its radical, modernist design. To Walter Gropius, founder of the school in 1919, there was ‘no difference between the beautiful sex and the strong sex’, except for the fact that the former could only think in two-dimensions; whilst the latter was able to think in three. Such an assertion would suggest that Gropius was never faced with a handloom. For it is a 1950s handloom, similar to the ones that would have been used in the weaving workshop, that first confronts visitors to the Tate’s exhibition of Bauhaus alumna, Anni Albers.

Anni Albers, Study for an unexecuted wall-hanging, 1926, gouache on paper, ARS, New York; DACS, London (Photo: Josef and Anni Albers Foundation)