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Josef Albers: To Open Eyes Paperback – March 7, 2009

5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


'oversized, sumptuously illustrated, and reasonably priced ... Danilowitz offers a rich history of Alber's life and career. ... she teases out the various threads that tie Alber's teaching to the history of progressive education ... Horowitz recounts Alber's classroom practice in fascinating documentary detail.' Modern Painters 'To Open Eyes does a superb job of detailing Albers' impact not just as a colourist but also as an educator ... sprightly and ably written [...], beautifully illustrated and gorgeously printed and designed. Go. Buy. Enjoy.' The Art Book 'This is a wonderful book for high school libraries, community art centers, and colleges and universities.' Arts and Activities 'Horowitz and Danilowitz (Josef and Anni Albers Foundation) succeed in presenting a solid overview of Albers' instructional approach with background research that included interviews with more than 180 of his former students and associates. The volume is richly illustrated with art reproductions, photographs, and instructional exercises.' CHOICE 'This is the most comprehensive book yet written on Albers, and it is richly illustrated with his own work, that of his students, and archival photography from as long ago as 1899.' Interior Design 'Horowitz, a former student of Albers, and Danilowitz, chief curator of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, are the first to examine Albers's teaching methods.' Library Journal 'Now, thanks to the oversized, sumptuously illustrated, and reasonably priced Josef Albers: To Open Eyes (the kind of book for which Phaidon was once and is again renowned), we are able to judge him for ourselves.' Modern Painters 'This book couldn't have appeared at a better time. It's also a fascinating intellectual journey in itself.' The Wall Street Journal

About the Author

Brenda Danilowitz is the chief curator of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation and has written extensively on Josef Albers for a variety of publications. Frederick A. Horowitz, a former student of Josef Albers at Yale in the 1950s, taught art at Washtenaw Community College and the University of Michigan School of Art & Design, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is the author of an art appreciation text, More Than You See/A Guide to Art.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press; 1St Edition edition (March 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714849650
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714849652
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 1.1 x 11.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #483,087 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By Elaine S. Wilson on December 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Many people may not know that Josef Albers played a large part in revolutionizing teaching art in the 20th Century. Many people do not know how many 2oth century artists lives were in some way affected by his teaching--either directly or indirectly.

It is surprising that it has taken this long for a book on the remarkable teaching career of Josef Albers to appear, but here it finally is. Fred Horowitz and Brenda Danilowitz do a superb job of bringing the pedagogical thinking of perhaps the greatest 20th century art educator to life as well giving us a clear picture of the teacher himself. If this is the only book you ever read on teaching art you will give yourself the greatest gift possible.

The explanations and analysis of individual projects in four foundations courses, are coherent and represent the meat of this remarkable book. Plentiful fine illustrations from the Albers Foundation Archives, the Bauhaus and Black Mountain College make clear the descriptions of the problems and the reasons Albers found these to be indispensible in developing visual thinking--in opening eyes.

The choice of type weight, spacing, margin widths, and the light value of the ink may make reading the text a little difficult, but you should persevere--because real gold lies within the text. This is not just a book for the pictures!!

The publishers should take note, however, that Josef Albers as a designer would have deplored the way the layout and typography makes the reading a difficult task. I wonder whether the book designers took the trouble to read the text, or if they might benefited from some of the basic lessons imparted in Albers' famous Design courses.

I hope that with the publishing of this book, the vital lessons that Albers made the core of his life teaching will once again be brought alive and vigorous into the Foundations classrooms of colleges and art schools worldwide.
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Format: Hardcover
Josef Albers: To Open Eyes by Frederick A. Horowitz and Brenda Danilowitz, is a beautiful, magnificent book about this internationally eminent artist, teacher of art, and theorist of design and color. It simply could not be better.

Brenda Danilowitz, Chief Curator of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation in Bethany, Connecticut, writes about the biography of Albers, 64 pages, while Frederick A. Horowitz, a former student of Albers at Yale, who taught a The University of Michigan School of Art & Design in Ann Arbor and at Washtenaw Community College, devotes 181 pages to Albers as teacher of design, drawing, color and painting. An additional 34 pages cover Notes, Bibliography, Sources, Illustrations and Index. To find out what made Albers such a unique and revered teacher Frederick Horowitz interviewed a total of 160 students at Bauhaus, Black Mountain College, Yale and Harvard as well as 9 of his professional colleagues.

Albers was first a student and then a member of the faculty of the original Bauhaus in Germany. When Hitler took over Germany in 1933 and the faculty, led by Mies van der Rohe, closed the Bauhaus, Albers came to the U.S. to teach, first at Black Mountain College in North Carolina and then, beginning in 1950, at Yale as Head of the Department of Design. By 1962 Yale University awarded him an honorary Doctorate at the same time she similarly honored President John F. Kennedy and former Secretary of State Dean Acheson.

Albers experimented with color relationships in the form of nested squares of color. His great dedication resulted in a retrospective exhibition of his oeuvre at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, an honor only rarely given to a living artist. Another retrospective was organized in 1988 at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
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Format: Paperback
I purchased this book when it was first published--and it has taken me a while to write a review. One reason is this book is hard to classify. "With Open Eyes" takes many perspectives on the teachings of Josef Albers, providing historical, artistic, as well as the theoretical perspectives on what is a very complex topic, color and art instruction. Just like Albers' other seminal work, "Interaction of Color", each time I read "To Open Eyes", I find something new and compelling to dwell upon--to learn. This is also probably the only book ever published that provided a first hand account of the Albers' teachings at Black Mountain--which alone is a huge contribution to art history and the study of color and artistic pursuits.

Beyond the content, Phaidon has gone to great lengths to publish a high quality book. The quality of the reproduction and text are very good--it will make a nice addition to any collection of monographs or art books.

As you've probably noticed, all the previous reviewers have given it "five stars"--so I don't need to tell you it is worth buying this book. But, this book is a must have for any artist or art instuctor. If you are an artist looking to improve your work, buy it with "Interaction of Color" and you will thank yourself later.

all the best, Jerry
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Format: Hardcover
This is a book about color not history! This book is about a profound and universal approach to art, color, teaching and ultimately life. There is a thread of integrity, passion and experimentation running through all of Josef Albers' paintings, drawings, designs and teaching. Sometimes by learning about how he taught we gain more profound access to his paintings. Other times, by looking at his paintings we find we want to learn about how he approached teaching and how he achieved such insight into both the world at large and the world of color. Regardless of how you enter Josef's world or come under Josef's influence, the benefits are the same: an irrevocable expansion and enrichment of one's own sensory world. I could go on at length as to how curious it is that Albers is frequently misunderstood as having been someone cool and controlling instead of the playful, spontaneous, generous and flexible man described in "To Open Eyes". But what you need to know is how significant this book is. There are thousands of books that offer dogma and theory for you to advance your own work or teaching. There really has never been a book like "To Open Eyes" which clarifies the Albers story while simultaneously imparting Josef's most important lessons about color and seeing. If you could have only one book in your studio, this would be it.
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