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Conversation Piece

Bet on Bauhaus With These Josef Albers-Designed Playing Cards

By

Bet on Bauhaus With These Josef Albers-Designed Playing Cards

Here’s what you need to know about these playing cards designed by Josef Albers:

1. One of the most influential artists of the 20th century, the German-born Albers came to the U.S. in 1933 to lead the noted avant-garde institution Black Mountain College after the Nazis closed his famed Bauhaus school. His contributions to art education have proven as celebrated as his artworks, which include furniture and stained glass works alongside prints and paintings.

2. As an effort to bring art to wider audiences in the 1960s, Art in America commissioned Albers (along with other influential artists like Robert Indiana and Jacob Lawrence) to design coins and decks of playing cards as part of an “Art for Everyday Living” feature. The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s print curator at the time, A. Hyatt Mayor, spearheaded the project, and chose objects that “are modest and often disposable, [and thus] invite an artist to a recklessness of experiment that he might not dare in more formal work.”

3. Now, 53 years later, Artspace and Art in America have teamed up to bring back Alber’s lauded cards, produced in a premier-quality new edition. The double deck of cards feature two iconic designs, one in blue and one in red, and are sure to class up your poker night. (Or make for some sophisticated solitaire.)

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