Albers and Morandi: Never Finished

Text by Laura Mattioli. Conversation between David Leiber, Heinz Liesbrock, and Nicholas Fox Weber

Forthcoming November 2021.

An unprecedented catalogue exploring the formal and visual affinities and contrasts between Josef Albers and Giorgio Morandi—two of modern art’s greatest painters. 

Rarely seen together, the artwork of Josef Albers (1888–1976) and Giorgio Morandi (1890–1964) shares many similarities. Although they never met, both artists worked in series as they explored difference and potential through their distinctive treatment of color, shape, form, and morphology. They were also both influenced by Cezanne. As master illusionists and experts in proportion, they tackle similar conceits from different perspectives. Albers focused on the effects of subtle or bold changes and interactions in color, while Morandi made still lifes that treat simple objects as a cast of characters on a stage, exploring their relationship in space.

Published on the occasion of the critically acclaimed exhibition Albers and Morandi: Never Finished, the book illuminates the visual conversation between these two artists. With the exhibition hailed by The New Yorker’s Peter Schjeldahl as “one of the best … I’ve ever seen,” this publication brings this unusual, thought-provoking pairing to your home. Gorgeous reproductions are accompanied by a roundtable about form and color between the exhibition’s curator, David Leiber; Heinz Liesbrock, the director of the Josef Albers Museum Quadrat Bottrop, Germany; and Nicholas Fox Weber, the director of Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, as well as an essay by the Morandi expert and founder of the Center for Italian Modern Art, Laura Mattioli.


Publisher: David Zwirner Books

Artists: Josef Albers, Giorgio Morandi

Contributors: Laura Mattioli, David Leiber, Heinz Liesbrock, Nicholas Fox Weber

Designer: Practise (James Goggin)

Printer: VeronaLibri, Verona

Publication Date: 2021

Binding: Hardcover

Dimensions: 9 × 10 in | 22.9 × 25.4 cm

Pages: 144

Reproductions: 48

ISBN: 9781644230596

Retail: $55 | $76 CAN | £40

Status: Not Yet Published

Stock: Unavailable

Stock: Out of Stock

Josef Albers

Josef Albers (1888–1976) is considered one of the foremost abstract painters, as well as an important designer and educator noted for his rigorously experimental approach to spatial relationships and color theory. Born in Bottrop, Germany, Albers studied at the Weimar Bauhaus, later joining the school’s faculty in 1922. In 1933, he and Anni Albers emigrated to North Carolina, where they founded the art department at Black Mountain College. During this time, Albers began to show his work extensively within the United States. In 1950, the Alberses moved to New Haven, Connecticut, where Josef was invited to direct the newly formed Department of Design at Yale University School of Art. Albers retired from teaching in 1958, just prior to the publication of his important Interaction of Color (1963), which was reissued in two volumes in 2013. Albers became the first living artist to be the subject of a solo exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in 1971.

All Josef Albers books

Giorgio Morandi

Giorgio Morandi was born in 1890 in Bologna, Italy, where he lived until his death in 1964. Over the course of his five-decade career, Morandi was most prolific during the postwar years from the late 1940s until the 1960s, when he executed more than half of his entire output of paintings. Remaining dedicated to the repertoire of subjects that had occupied him since the early 1910s, including tabletop still lifes of bottles, boxes, vases, and flowers, as well as occasional landscapes, his variations on a given compositional motif became more persistent, nuanced, and abstract in the later part of his life. Through subtle shifts in color, tone, scale, composition, and mark-making, Morandi was able to convey the ever-changing perceptual understanding and memory of the objects and spaces one encounters. In 1993, the Museo Morandi was established in Bologna, Italy, and is currently located in the Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna.

All Giorgio Morandi books

Laura Mattioli

Laura Mattioli is an art historian, writer, and founder of the Center for Italian Modern Art in New York. 

David Leiber

David Leiber, a partner at David Zwirner in New York, works closely with The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, the Joan Mitchell Foundation, The Estate of Diane Arbus, and the Paul Klee Family as well as the Beijing-based contemporary painter Liu Ye.

Heinz Liesbrock

Heinz Liesbrock is the director of the Josef Albers Museum Quadrat Bottrop.

Nicholas Fox Weber

Nicholas Fox Weber is a cultural historian and has been the executive director of The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation for the past four decades. During this time he has worked tirelessly to preserve the lasting achievements and legacies of the Alberses. He has written extensively on each artist, recently completing an unprecedented visual biography of these icons of twentieth-century art. Other books of his include artists such as Le Corbusier and Balthus. He is currently in the process of writing a groundbreaking new biography of the artist Piet Mondrian. He also spearheads Le Korsa, a nonprofit organization he founded in 2005 to assist with medical care and education in Senegal.