"Small-Great Objects" by Jennifer Reynolds-Kaye

Small-Great Objects Anni and Josef Albers in the Americas Jennifer Reynolds-Kaye, Michael D. Coe

Publication date:
07 Feb 2017
Yale University Art Gallery
96 pages: 279 x 229mm
56 color + 18 b-w illus.

Small-Great Objects presents a remarkable look into the art-collecting practices of two of modern art’s most widely influential figures, Anni (1899–1994) and Josef (1888–1976) Albers. Their impressive collection of over 1,400 objects from Latin America, namely Mexico and Peru, represents a conscious endeavor that goes well beyond that of a casual hobby, displaying a deep appreciation for the art, textiles, and overall ingenuity of the ancient American world. This insightful book draws on primary-source materials such as the couple’s letters, personal papers, and archival photographs—many never before published—and demonstrates their conviction that these Prehispanic objects displayed a formal sophistication and bold abstraction that defy the prevalent conception of the works as “primitive.” Moreover, it shows how the Alberses spread their appreciation of the ancient world to others, through their teachings, their writings, and their own art practices. 

Jennifer Reynolds-Kaye is the Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman–Joan Whitney Payson Senior Fellow at the Yale University Art Gallery. Michael D. Coe is the Charles J. MacCurdy Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Yale University and Curator Emeritus at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. 

"[F]ills a gap in existing scholarship on the pair by tracing the deep influences these treasured artworks had on their creative and teaching practices."—Crafts Magazine