Josef Albers teaching about forms at Black Mountain College
History Theory Criticism Platform
Professors: Angelika Schnell and Achim Reese

Design the World

An Essay about Bauhaus teacher Josef Alber's teaching methods and other educational reformers
Written together with Patricia Vraber

“Erziehen ist eine verwegene Sache ...” Johannes Itten

Studio Brief: The Bauhaus is an undeniably important part of modern architecture’s history – its utopian program, its aesthetic principles, its pedagogy and many of its teachers and students molded our understanding of modern universal design. There the idea was born of the individual student as a free and gifted independent personality, he or she should not be suppressed by imitating the “Master” dully and mechanically but encouraged to find their own way, the primary role of the teacher was to light the students’ spiritual fire. This is the great legacy of the Bauhaus and is still the basis for every modern arts and architecture education.
The core of this idea was the foundation course or Vorkurs which became the most influential outcome of the Bauhaus program. Having started as a preliminary course it quickly became the compulsive two-semester one that established the Bauhaus’ reputation. Altogether the Bauhaus had three (four) Vorkurs teachers: Johannes Itten (together with Georg Muche), Lazlo Moholy-Nagy and Josef Albers. They all had different ideas on how to teach the fundamental principles of forms, materials and light but they all agreed that these principles existed and that they could be intuitively understood. .
To begin with the explanation of the title, through the inspiration from John Dewey’s book Art as Experience1 and Josef Albers’s article2 with the same title, we understand experience as something, which is derived from experiments. We accept these reform theories as attempts, which are in a sense experiments. Since pedagogy is a branch of science, and also in science experiment guides to discovery and knowledge, education as experience is in a sense discovery and knowledge derived from experiments.

           Although our main concern is art education, we avoid using this two terms together, due to misinterpretation possibilities, such as typical artist’s education. What we have researched is about the aesthetics and the teaching methods of general perceivable appreciation coming out of visual experience. The title is a result of our discoveries during our writings and readings. We can say that the title is our experience.

      This investigation is composed out of our interest in the pedagogy of educational institutions, such as the Bauhaus and Black Mountain College. Namely, while reading the literature regarding Josef Albers, we often came across with name John Dewey and a few others. That has gotten our attention and we started studying about their works. Through our research, we started to contextualize Albers in connection with cultural exchange in the early 20th century and educational reformers. Since John Dewey’s name appeared so many times, we became curious, if they met in real life. Our aim was to figure out, if and how were they related to each other. On the following pages, we tried to clarify this topic.


1.1 Dewey’s Philosophy

      John Dewey, born in 1859 in Vermont was an American philosopher and psychologist, who later concentrated on education and social reform and whose ideas were very important and had much influence on the modern pedagogy.
      The crucial point of his philosophy is the knowledge through experience by the instinctive action. While doing, a kind of thinking establishes itself about the doing, which can lead the agent to the knowledge of principles. In this anthropogenically-thought anxiety, which is indicated as the primitive of practice in Dewey, the old topos of human perfectionism is immediately recognizable.  What lies underneath the consideration is the development of thinking from the action, which leads to thinking and judgment about the action. Therefore, the basic principles of human doing is  for Dewey  somewhat the self-activity, that effectuates self-actualization or self-realization, which is understood as a progressive approach to the subject on the objectively given possibilities of world experience. Since experience -and this establishes Dewey’s pedagogical theory- occurs within a given totality of possible experiences and already existing knowledge, the guidance on certain activities releases the self-realization.
      A starting point in Dewey’s career was a professorship in the newly founded University of Chicago in 1894; he developed an empiricist philosophy, which is the basis of his pragmatism. He founded an experimental school called University of Chicago Laboratory Schools (UCLS). The new elementary school was opened at the beginning of 1896. It embarked on one of the most important educational experiments in a coming century. It started with 16 students under his guidance. The intention of the new school was to challenge conventional conservative education and to find a new way that a school could become a cooperative community. The University of Chicago, was founded only two years before, but seemed as a promising center for educational research. That was, because of its provision of a clean slate, on which new ideas could be developed. That was mostly, because of Dewey’s own interest. He would soon take the lead nationally in bringing the study of education to the same level as other academic disciplines. He possessed a solid grounding in the work of reformers, like Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi and Friedrich Froebel.
      Efforts of the University of Chicago were guided by Learning by Doing, since John Dewey’s first tests about his educational theories and from where he collected the materials for his main pedagogical book The School and Society3.
      On the following pages we are describing two more experimental schools; Bauhaus and Black Mountain College. Bauhaus was an art school founded by Walter Gropius in Weimar, Germany and Black Mountain College in North Carolina by Ted Dreier and John Rice. In contrast to Bauhaus, which was already from the beginning meant as an art school, had BMC, we could say with a great help of our main character Josef Albers, slowly introduced art as a subject, that had at the end as much importance as any other.

1.2 Germany and the USA

      The USA was a shelter for many German-speaking refugees, because of National Socialist mistreatment. There are many evidences, that due to the new institutional foundations in the USA, the academic migration from Europe increased immediately.4 Albers and his wife were the first two teachers from Bauhaus, who were invited to teach in the USA. These new educational institutions were also a solution for many, who were interested in progressive education theories and for Albers, who were one of them, a help to get more freedom in applying his teaching methods.
      Dewey was initially introduced to German readers in late 19. Century as a Psychologist, but after the translation of The School and Society in 1905.5 Georg Kerschensteiner, born in Munich lived in 1854-1932, is actually the one, who presented Dewey’s ideas in Germany for the first time, although they disagreed afterwards.  Kerschensteiner was at the beginning a school’s inspector, later he started to study American School System, where he came across with Dewey’s theories and compared it with Germany’s through Pestalozzi structured system (Pestalozzi will be explained in the following chapters.). One can say that Kerschensteiner represents the German Idealism, while Dewey, on the contrary, the American Pragmatism in pedagogical circumstances.
      While having an equivalent starting point for their theories at first, which is that the aim of education is the human being, learning by doing and to motivate them faith in the capacity for positive developments, they were strictly differentiated latterly, due to Kerschensteiner’s idealist position as a positivist against Dewey’s intense pragmatist tradition. As the founder of the activity school (Arbeitsschule - Handlungsorientierung), which was applied to German education system until the Weimar Republic era, he focused on the practicality of craftsmanship orientation, in the sense of developing concrete handicraft skills. At that point, he contradicted from Dewey’s idea of working principle to the purpose of comprehensive education of individuals. More clearly, Dewey emphasized the progressive meaning of industrial development for the cultural life of the society hence for learning and education, thus he developed the concept of poly-craftsmanship learning.6 Dewey approached education in a deduction way, on the contrary, as a proper follower of Pestalozzi, Kerschensteiner was an inductionist.
      Coming back to Dewey’s The School and Society, he wrote a chapter7 about Friedrich Froebel, who is an educational theorist, lived from 1782 to 1852 and was a great follower of Pestalozzi. He was popular with his addition to Pestalozzi’s theories with the kindergarten concept. Somewhere, he mentioned: “The kindergarten was to be an environment in which children could reach their full creative potential under the protective and interactive guidance of an adult.”8

1.3 In Pestalozzi’s Realm

      As it is mentioned in the previous chapter, to investigate Froebel clearly, one should concentrate on his meeting with Friedrich Heinrich Pestalozzi, who lived from 1746 to 1827. He was a Swiss educational reformer, whose ideas caused a revolution on pedagogy. It is evident that he was one of the first theorists who came with the idea of Learning by Doing: “The school curriculum should be concerned not with the transmission of the products of learning but with the active process of search, not with dead letter work but with sensory intuition, not with parrot-like repetition but with rational thought.”9 The idea was accepted by many, but was not put into practice. Therefore he attempted to found new experimental schools, in Burgdorf (1800-1804) and in Yverdon (1805-1825), he achieved a successful output for developing his theories. During Froebel’s visit to Pestalozzi’s newly founded school in Yverdon in 1807, 25 years old Froebel, who have recently changed his profession’s direction the pedagogy, was deeply influenced from Pestalozzi’s ideas.
      In their later period, there were a few fundamental points, which distinguished them from each other. Froebel’s theory is speculative and deductive, tracing the development of man as from the absolute and his main method is to apply a systematic method of progression, in order to achieve the goal, while Pestalozzi as an inductionist-realist takes man as he appears on earth. In addition, Froebel believed that the universal truth would reveal itself through experience. However, they show similarities in their theories about the illustration from life, in terms of learning from experience.
      At the time of his experimental school in Burgdorf, Pestalozzi wrote his well-known book How Gertrude Teaches her Children, the main idea behind it was by reducing given theory and by creating a chain of psychologically ordered exercises, the children can learn and be taught efficiently. Pestalozzi started to think about education unpredictably: After he bought a farmer’s house in Neuhof in 1770’s. His financial aim with it failed, therefore, the house became somehow a small school in a sense to teach beggars and orphans to work and to learn. This occasion, which is the root of all his ideas explained within quote from the introduction in his book is as follows:

“-Long years I lived surrounded by more than fifty beggar children. In poverty I shared my bread with them, I lived like a beggar in order to learn how to make beggars live like men.”11

      The origin within dedicating a benevolence to people, who are suffering or have lack of social support, because they need help massively and also they worth of trusting in their still untouched natural energy. Developing his techniques in this period, his pedagogical creed could be clarified with this quote from the book:

“-But instead of letters ... I let them draw angles, squares, lines and arcs.... From the moment when his senses are open for the impressions of nature, from this moment he is taught by nature ... such motivation is not to be expected from people in their natural state, without the influence of art ... color, limbs, position, form and number ... to unite nature and art intimately in people’s education ... to expand the horizon of their views more and more.... For class instruction teachers should be recruited who cannot only do no harm, but advance with a minimum of expended power.... If many children are simultaneously and equally instructed, the urge to imitate is awaked and the pupils help each other by exchanging what they have learned ... to help human beings through his method to proceed to self-help since nobody else on God’s earth will do so ... the belief in the prospect of ennoblement of the human species.”12

      It is evident that during Josef Albers’s time in the Pre-teachers College, Pestalozzi’s book was a compulsory reading, because the book was an instructional standard of Prussian education system.13 At that time, Prussian curriculum was still taught in Büren, where Albers went to the teachers college. Albers, born in Bottrop and lived between 1888-1976, was firstly a primary school teacher as his parents.  He studied then at the Royal Berlin Art Academy (1913-1915) about art teaching, the Essen School of Design (1916-1919) about printmaking and the Munich Art Academy (1919-1920). He taught before and during his studies at many Westphalian elementary schools.
      At the age of 14, he started to attend the classes at that pre-teacher’s college. In 1908 he passes the exam at that college in the Westphalian city of Büren. He started to work as an elementary school teacher in farmer’s school in Weddern between 1909 and 1910. Till that time, on behalf of his teaching experiences, the pupils were separated into classes due to their ages. But in the farmer’s school, all the pupils between the ages of 6 to 14 years were settled in one class. In this new condition, he had to develop a strategy, which could lead that each pupil can still step-by-step progressively learn and that pupils can learn from each other by building small groups, plus by giving oral and written exercises:

“The experience of interior growth is the mainspring for all human development and the example of the teacher is the most efficient education means. And this is my most important teacher cognition: that education is not only the accumulation of so called knowledge but at first and in the end serves the construction of the will. Therefore education was invented and organized time and again through the centuries: The integration of the individual in community and society – which means beyond economic aims for ethical aims.”14

      The practice followed by enhancing his idea, he had found the essentials of his lifelong pedagogy. He started to think, applied and practiced within very similar occasions as Pestalozzi did. Although he read his book before, Albers was learning it by doing it. But of course, he did not repeated Pestalozzi, he rather influenced from him. As mentioned above, it is assumed that Kerschensteiner brought Pestalozzi’s work (dreams) to completion.


2.1 Albers on Art

 “-Source and the content of art is the measure and the aim
of art.
 -The origin of art is the discrepancy between the physical fact and psychic effect.
-The content of art is the visual formulation of our reaction to life.
-The measure of art is the ratio of effort to effect.
-The aim of art evaluation and evocation of visual.”15

      Albers thought about art as discovery and invention in this creative process. So art was considered as a creative rather than productive process, because creation leads to spiritual effect and production to a practical result. He was sure that art does not depend on material, but on a spiritual level. It is not about seeing art through an optical projection; but it is rather about understanding the psychological process. By optical he means the differences regarding to each individual, that each person reacts differently. Someone once said that “we don’t judge art; art judges us.”
      Albers argues strictly against the idea that art is perceived as self-expression combined with the feeling. He thinks that this statement has psychological error and misinterpreted.
      Within the progressive education, art is understood as an important principle of self-act expression. Opposed to that, Albers argues, that self-expression is either the beginning of art studies or the final aim of art. There is no verbal communication without the words or sounds with meanings, or the same reason, there is no visual formulation as long as there is no visual articulation.16 Nobody considers the inarticulate sounds of a baby as language, but even though, many accepts such things as self-expression, and therefore, as art. Continuing his opposition, Albers defines, that such things are self-disclosure rather than self-expression. Through investigations, as a teacher, one might denote him as an inductionist. A disciplined practical work was the basis of his teaching.
      When he was firstly invited to Yale University in 1950 to teach at the art department, he declined it. His rejection was based on his different point of view about art teaching and he criticizes strongly that at that time most of the art schools were teaching popular artist’s techniques in or to create repetition of already existing. Albers comments on art teaching in most of the schools as they were suffering from a contagious disease and describes it as Picassobia, Matisseitis and Klee(p)tomania.17 What made those artists so epidemic for him was that their foundation was under the expression self-realization, which caused an over-individualization to take place and ironically he concludes, that they all looked alike. Therefore in his whole teaching life, he stood behind his ideology that an art education should lead the person to find his own principles and own opinion about art, rather than becoming a replication or a follower of popular arts.

2.2 Experimental school in Germany

      Albers was 32 years old, when he enrolled as a student to the Bauhaus, the school of dreams and an excellent alternative to elitist art schools in German-speaking countries. The Bauhaus’ purpose was to achieve a utopian ideal by creating new human being for a more human society.

“-The ultimate aim of all creative activity is the building!”

      Was written from Walter Gropius, the director of the Bauhaus from its foundation till 1928, as the Manifesto of the Bauhaus.
      Albers took Johannes Itten’s preliminary course in 1920. Already after 2 years he became a Young Master (Workshop Master) for the stained-glass workshop. After Itten left the Bauhaus in 1923, Josef assisted Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, who held the preliminary course. Due to political changes in 1928 - during Hannes Meyer’s directorship-, Moholy-Nagy left the Bauhaus, and therefore, Albers became fully responsible for the whole preliminary course until the ultimate closing of the Bauhaus in 1933. Albers’s difference from the other two main preliminary course masters was -Itten as a creative individualist and Moholy-Nagy as a constructivist- his minimalist aesthetics.
      Similar to his Bauhaus colleagues, he agreed at that point, that art could not be taught, but could be learned very well, developed and exercised by observation and articulation, e.g. observation served as the basis of recognition; and articulation as the basis of the formulation. Albers defined art as a matter of culture, like the visual formulation of human reactions and of the social life. For him art is defined as to transformation of the visual formulation of human reactions to social reality. Art’s purpose, as the enlightenment of true vision, is derived from emancipated observation.

“Josef Albers entered the classroom with a bundle of newspapers under his arm. ‘Ladies and gentlemen,’ he said, ‘we are poor, and not rich. We cannot afford to waste materials or time. Every piece of work has a certain starting material, and therefore we must examine the nature of this material. Towards this end we wish to experiment at first without creating anything. Now we are going to rely on our sense of beauty. The usefulness of a form depends on the material we are working in. Remember that often the fewest gestures take us the longest way... I would like you to take these newspapers in hand, and make something more out of them than what they are at present. I would also like you to respect the material, shape it intelligently, and with special attention to its particular characteristics. If you can do without any accessories, such as cutters, scissors or glue, all the better’ . . . Several hours later he returned, and made us lay out the finished objects on the floor.”18

      When he was at Bauhaus he wrote an article with the title Teaching Form Through Practice19. He talks about how the study of the material naturally precedes understanding of function and hence our attempt to understand form starts with the study of the material. The productive handling of materials has been mostly approved by techniques with a long tradition. Thus, education in the crafts mainly consists of the transmission and acceptance of confirmed methods of working. Albers is certain that this narrow training leads to a loss of creative freedom and so it stifles invention.20 And for him, invention, so as re-invention, is the essence of creativity. He said: “Once experienced, invention becomes a lasting spiritual possession, and gaining this experience for oneself is the training one needs to create form; to work at the language, the expression of the time.”21 As we noticed, Albers is talking about the experience already in the time of Bauhaus. In his article there are some similarities with Dewey, since Dewey had wrote about experience in The School and Society. As we already mentioned above, this book was translated to German in 1905 and that could mean that Albers had knew about Dewey’s theories at his time at Bauhaus.
      Surely we can know that, after Albers moved to America and started his career at Black Mountain College he became familiar with Dewey’s educational theories. One of our interests was also, how exactly had Albers implicated Dewey’s theories in his way.

2.3 Experimental school in the USA-North Carolina

      Bauhaus modernism may now be very well accepted and respected in a way, but back then it startled and displeased the larger audience. And same it goes for Black Mountain College. Today the pioneering institution is worshiped, but at the time a lot of what was created there was viewed as a form of heresy.
      Black Mountain College (BMC) had at the beginning only 23 students, who joıned voluntarily and most of them had no previous profession. All has started with a fairly representative liberal arts curriculum, but a decade later the course offerings were almost entirely about art. At its best, a chain reaction of creativity occurred, from student to teacher and back again.
      The founder of the College, John Andrew Rice, who invited Albers to teach visual arts at the BMC, was very influenced by Dewey’s pragmatism and wanted to apply his theories precisely to the education system at the BMC. He even mentioned somewhere, that Dewey was the only one, who understood him correctly. He was very against the conservative educational system, which is concentrated on reading and one-dimensional. He rather argued for an extended to a tangible growth of experiences to escape from a kind of knowledge, which creates a connected but eventually a meaningless vocabulary of empty words. He preferred a Socratic Dialogue, which will drive students to emphasize learning on behalf of questioning and research, rather than forcing students into a fixed system.
      In the College’s curriculum there were only two compulsory subjects that each student had to attend: Rice’s classes on Plato and Albers’s Drawing and Werklehre as introduction to general art education. Rice’s Plato class was not only about Plato’s works, but it was also about Plato’s Socratic Method in a group discussion, and by that putting it into practice. The class included new and advanced students and also faculty members. His aim was to help students to learn how to think. Also Dewey addresses in The School and Society to Plato. He writes that even Plato speaks of the slave as one who in his actions does not express his own ideas, but those of some other man. It is our social problem now, even more urgent than in the time of Plato, that method, purpose, understanding, shall exist in the consciousness of the one who does work, that his activity shall have a meaning to himself. A student commented on Rice’s teaching methods as follows:

“Rice ... was a learning experience in himself. He was clearly the leader of the college, yet was not doctrinaire as many leaders are. He did not push preconceived solutions to problems. I learned how to lead a group discussion, seeing how he got a group to advance and then develop an idea, giving
guidance through the “Socratic” questioning, and getting most if not all to participate voluntarily.”22

      On the other hand, Albers’s mission is to teach students to breathe life into not yet well-developed potential for art, which was still inherent in people. His Drawing and Werklehre class were firstly an adjustment of the preliminary course that he held at the Bauhaus, which was originally prepared for students, who are specializing in art. But the course was a combination of many elements. His aim was to help students to learn to see things differently. However, both Rice and Albers did not taught objectively, such as accreditation -and even the College was inviting external professors to certify the students-, they rather concentrated on the individual development in a collective environment, through experience of each student within self-discipline and motivation.
      Albers had many times mentioned that we must learn from and with one another23. True to his own belief that individual growth was the key to human fulfillment, he took the measure of his new surroundings and pushed himself to ever-more creative teaching. BMC has given him freedom of using the methods he wanted to use already at the Bauhaus.
      Although he was applying his theories about teaching consciously into his courses, he was not able to be very successful at the Bauhaus period. It was his first art teaching experience and we have to take into account that fırstly, that Bauhaus students’ attributes were already proven and they have trained to become professional artists and secondly, Albers had to follow Itten’s and Moholy-Nagy’s preliminary course. On the contrary, the students at the BMC were inexperienced within the art.
      The aim of art studies at Black Mountain College was not self-expression but articulation in visual form. Since expression is purposeful, aiming through means at definite effects, it is the result of self-control and mastery of medium and tools.24 There, art studies were first of general education and second, a foundation for later specialized and individual artwork. Basic courses in drawing, painting, design, and color offered studies aiming at disciplined seeing and sensitive reading of form. Albers believed that precision and discipline in art can be achieved through experience and through continuous and repeated experimentation. He always stood behind in the independence and spontaneity of learning, but also in learning from each other by teamwork.  A student who visited his classes in 1946 recorded his principles:

“He began the class with the same statement.... Open your eyes and see. My aim is to make you see more than you want to. I am here to destroy your prejudices. If you already have a style, don’t bring it with you. It will only be in the way.... Mr Albers believed that learning was achieved by 1-being corrected by your neighbors;
2- not being ashamed of mistakes
3-being aware of everyone else’s struggles;
4-understanding that criticism does not diminish the quality of the work.
Matière is the use of different materials that have texture. By placing them next to other unrelated textures, each material loses its identity. You destroy the association without destroying the material.... Drawing: We began with the flower pot. There is only one way to draw it correctly. If the proportions are wrong, it will look wrong, or if the ellipse is incorrect, the pot won’t sit. We drew ellipses over and over again. First in the air, then on paper. For students who objected to this rigid exercise, he would answer: When your constitution is straightened out, then go wild. Freedom is something we don’t have. We work for it.... Next the figure. First draw in the air. Don’t bring your ego with you. It will get in the way of seeing. Your inner eye will take care of itself. Don’t confuse ego with the inner eye.... We drew whatever was in season. Rain produced boots and umbrella, spring produced daffodils, and summer produced automobiles, bicycles. Each problem had ellipses, foreshortening, space, each problem stemmed from our daily living. This sounds too close to pop art, which is now in the foreground. He really produced some great pop art, but his was not a social protest, or an artistic protest, but simply seeing and studying. Art experience is not merely a matter of painting, but mainly of seeing. We deal with a visual world. Our job is the seeing world, our insight into life. The eyes behind the eyes are the decisive one, so the outer eye is merely a tool that we must sharpen by every means so the inner eye is free to express itself.... I can help you develop your motor sense, visual sense, hearing, taste, touch. I leave the rest to the lord.”

      His first lecture in English was the shortest and also the most essential one: “I want to open eyes”, with that he wanted to encounter his students to train their visual perception by going back, which was an extremely hard task to teach towards such students, who have not had an artistic vision.25 ​​​​​​​


3.1 To open eyes

      The words “experiment” and “experience” comes from the same Latin root experimentum, from experiri, which denotes to attempt or to try. The word “experience” turned into experentia in later Latin and enlarged its denotation and its meaning has expanded: It not solely refers to the act of trying something out, but also to the knowledge derived from that act. Namely, the notion of “experiment”, the shift from the sense of a present impression (going through something), includes the content of past experiments and matters and is renamed as “experiment” (what one can take from having gone through something). Therefore, “experiment” is trial and “experience” is the knowledge gained from “experiment”. Additionally, in empirical science experiment leads to exploration, discovery and development.
      Through our readings both of Albers and Dewey, we have come to understand these words as follows:

-Experiment is the reason of experience.
-Experience is the result of experiment.
-Experience follows experiment.

     Therefore, these two terms are strongly related and are dependent on each other. On this chapter, this assertion will be clarified.
     John Dewey had in his first pedagogical book The School and Society talked about his beliefs about how education as growth or maturity should be an ever-ongoing process. He then continued in another book: “The main purpose or objective of education is to prepare the young for future responsibilities and to be successful in life, by means of acquisition of the organized bodies, of information and prepared forms of skill, which comprises the material of instruction”26. He believes, that education is a fundamental method of social development and reform.
      When Josef Albers’s book Interaction of Color27 was initially published, it was -as everything he did, an experiment-, and because of that also subject of controversy. His book does not put forth an academic conception of “theory and practice”. He writes: “It reverses this order and places practice before theory, which, after all, is the conclusion of practice.”28
      So, the theory is not preceded but followed by practice. He meant that such study promotes a more lasting teaching and learning through experience. Its aim is the development of creativity, which is realized in discovery and invention -the criteria of creativity, or flexibility, being imagination and invention-. Concerning this, he writes: “Altogether it promotes “thinking in situations” a new educational concept unfortunately little known and less cultivated, so far.”29 Albers said that doing something -even if it results in failure- counts educationally more than merely knowing something.
      Dewey wrote another book called Art as Experience30, where he discussed experience also in artistic sense. After its publication, Albers wrote an article with the same title.

3.2 Experiment

      The problem or situation that engages the interest of students while at the same time challenging them with an aim that makes experimental education demanding is examined from Dewey as follows:

“A large part of the art of instruction lies in making the difficulty of new problem is large enough to challenge thought, and small enough so that, in addition to the confusion naturally attending the novel elements, there shall be luminous familiar spots from which helpful suggestions may spring.”31

      Dewey has given in The School and Society, some challenges of growing plants in a kindergarten and trying raw materials, such as flax, wool, and cotton or to use thread to make clothes. The point to show was that when we begin with practical and physical exercises, which encourage activity and imagination, one could allow the situations to call out in a natural way, for inquiry into the more complex subject matters with which to construct the solution.
     This process makes interest in the subject matter itself in an ideal way, along the route like its relevance to students' life experience is unveiled. While teaching students how to cope with problems using communicative way, the experimental method can, as Dewey writes fine the solution as no other method can. He argues:

“The experimental method is the only one compatible with the democratic way of life, as we understand it. Every extension of intelligence as the method of action enlarges the area of common understanding. Understanding may not ensure complete agreement, but it gives the only sound basis for enduring agreement.”32

      Through experimentation, which is independent, undisturbed, thus without preconceptions, inventive structure and attentiveness that goes in the direction of new discoveries are developed. He shows how experimentation leaves out the study and then a playful start develops courage.
     He talks about how, when a student's learning is directed more toward technological and financial concerns than toward traditional forms, that then they learn to see both, in dynamical and statically way. By that they can learn the relation and so overcome the false dichotomy about the connection between the technological and the organic. He says:

“In addition to constructive thinking, this kind of learning schools a spatial imagination that is rare. It mediates the collective exchange of experiences and aims to discover laws of form that are both universal and contemporary. It prevents one from overvaluing individualism, without restricting real individuality.”33

     So, Dewey is certain that schools should not promote individualism as such because individualism emphasizes separation and that the task of school should rather be the integration of individual into contemporary life into society (state, profession, economy).  Schools should, therefore, cultivate individuality passively, no by upsetting ones development. Similarly, Albers writes: “As students and teachers, we must once again learn from and with one another (in competition, which elevates); otherwise, teaching is a bitter pill and a bad business.”34
     During one of well-known methods of Albers's Trial and Error experimentation, he always asked his students to leave the results in the class that at the beginning of the new class, the other students could also see their trials and errors. So that the following class always started with a critique of the previous class that students could practice making selection and comparisons with their own contribution.
     As a result, in Albers words, the most efficient example of “psychological engineering” are selected and “This qualification we confer on a convincing presentation because it eliminates misleading reading of the study's purpose and its desired effect.”35 Therefore, he concluded that the normal procedure in presenting a new problem often is to show a sample exercise and to point to its specific effect. The students are then asked to make same effects with different and similar colors, without telling them how it is made. Talking about visual materials, Albers had many times compared colors with music and tones. Color was the most passionate thing he studied and to which he dedicated many years. He has thought about color and its possibilities in a different way.
     All his exercises were made precisely and as understandable as possible for his students. Dewey thinks, that “everybody who has not a purely literary view of the subject recognizes that genuine art grows out of the work of the artisan”.36
     He says that the Renaissance art was nice, hence it came out of the manual arts of life. It has not sprung up in a divided atmosphere, but has been carried on the spiritual way processes, which were found in everyday shapes. So, what Dewey tries to accentuate is that school should note relationship. In his book he continues:

“The merely artisan side is narrow, but the mere art, taken by itself, and grafted on from without, tends to become forced, empty and sentimental. By that he does not mean that all artwork must be correlated in detail to the other work of the school, but simply that in a spirit of union gives vitality to the art and depth and richness to the other work.”37

     He speaks about how art can much concern organ-physical ones, like the eye and the hand, or the voice, as well as the ear, but it can, at the same time be more than just technical skill, which is necessary by the organs of expression.
     In the so-called ideal school, the artwork can be seen as a work from workshops, which is made through the alembic of library and museum back into action again. As an example or illustration for that kind of synthesis, he gives the textile room. He is describing the future school, such as we can hope, to have.
     The notion of the workshop is, that it is a place, where actual things are being done, likewise sewing, spinning and weaving. Dewey wrote that the person comes in a connection with the materials, directly.  So, that one is informed of materials history and origin, about how they can be used and how machines are processing these materials. By combining the practical and technical and while solving the problems, the discipline can arise.
      Then he asks: “Whence does the culture arise?” and answers with: “Partly from seeing all these things reflected through the medium of their scientific and historic conditions and associations, whereby the child learns to appreciate them as technical achievements, as thoughts precipitated in action; and partly because of the introduction of the art idea into the room itself.”38
     The good thing to remember is that by so, the complete school atmosphere is different and by introducing the activity school the spirit is changed in a better way. It can be affiliated with life, with a purpose to be person’s habitat and that there learning can be done while living directly. That means not only being a place where lessons are given with an abstract reference for some possible living to be done in the future. It was also the thing that made the BMC and the Bauhaus experimental.
     Both schools were using workshops as a part of their educational system, where discoveries and experimentation are made. Dewey had in his writings talked about how in workshops a lot of different things are being done. They do things, they are occupied and products are made in a group, with communicating, so one can discover new kind of discipline. That is how our whole representation of school discipline shuffles and changes as soon as we understand or realize this sentiment.
     We can realize, that through our critical moments the only discipline, which stays with us, is the one, which has gotten through life.  The school has been isolated from the motives and conditions that are ordinary. It is hard to get the experience in the place, where kids are sent to get discipline. He writes:

 “It is only when a narrow and fixed image of traditional school discipline dominates that one is in any danger of overlooking that deeper and infinitely wider discipline that comes from having a part to do in constructive work, in contributing to a result which, social in spirit, is none the less obvious and tangible in form and hence in a form with reference to which responsibility may be exacted and accurate judgment passed.”39

“The relations with outside world are also found in carpentry and the textile workshops. They connect with the country, as the source of their materials, with physics, as the science of applying energy, with commerce and distribution, with art in the development of architecture and decoration.”40

     That was, for example, one of Josef and Anni Albers's tasks at the Bauhaus.
     An intimate connection can be made with the university on the side of its technological and engineering schools and through their scientific and laboratorial methods and their results. Dewey argues that where active work is tried or made, everything is different. Instead of being just a form of charity, and while literary helping others, is help in setting the powers free and farther an impulse of the one helped.

“A spirit of free communication, of interchange of ideas, suggestions, results, both successes and failures of previous experiences, becomes the dominating note of the recitation. So far as emulation enters in, it is the comparison of individuals, not with regard to the quantity of information personally absorbed, but with reference to the quality of work done the genuine community standard of value.”41

     This is another thing, in which it is reliable that the two schools, mentioned above, had a process of learning from each other. Even at the Bauhaus, the teachers were not called professors, but masters. In Rice's lectures, which were formed as a Socratic Dialogue, the teachers were also attending this conversation.
     Dewey writes: “Learning? Certainly, but living primarily, and learning through and in relation to this living.”42 Albers thinks about learning, he argues that learning is better than teaching, because of its intensity. He adds: “The more we teach, the less students can learn.”43 Although he is sure that practicing and learning exercises can improve insight and dexterity and not creativity. He wrote there are problems and tasks you confront in your life, which cannot be solved by intellectual procedure alone. He said: “There are activities and situations we cannot encounter through verbal and oral information and which, therefore, actually cannot be taught.”44
     Dewey believed that an individual, who would receive education, is a social individual as also that society is an organic association of individuals. He writes, that if we take away social factor from a child, only abstraction is left with us; if one extract individual factor from society, we are left only with an unmoving crowd without life. So he says, that education must start with the psychological realization in child's abilities, interests and habits.
     Dewey sees school mostly as a social institution. To see education as a social process, the school is the way of community, group life, where all funds are centered in and that will most effectively facilitate the child's participation in the received resources of humanity and using their own power for social purposes. Therefore, he believes, that education is a just a process of life and not preparation for the following life. He explains that sequence of investigating doesn't exist in the curriculum of an ideal school. If the education is life, then life, already from the word go possesses natural, art, cultural and communicational aspect.
     So, progress is in that sense, not a thing of sequences of didactic objects, but developments of new relationships towards experiences and new kinds of interest for them. He thought of an experiment as an approach, which leads us to the most decisive factor in educating experience:

“Experience is not the shortest and often not the easiest way of learning, but the broader and most far-reaching way…What we have experienced belongs to us; it will remain with us longer than what we have only read or heard.”45

3.3 Experience

        To begin with the meaning of the title of the book -as it may be misread-, he does not claim that art is identical to experience. He rather replaces the basic question “what is art?” with “when is art?”. On the other hand, Albers approaches art from another question: “how is art?”46, which might be deemed an artist’s opinion. One could say, that Dewey turned to art, not to come up with a theory of art, but to broaden his theory of experience Learning by Doing by seeing art and aesthetics in terms of experience. The artwork forms an experience as an experience47. The experience is structured as follows: The agent undergoes something or some chances and these chances determine his or her activity. The process of undergoing lasts until the self and the activity are mutually adapted, producing a harmony as a result. This goes also for a thinker interacting with his or her thoughts internally. When the doing and undergoing are combined in perception, they denote something, i.e., a meaning, which is expanded through adjusting past experience.
      Dewey claims that every experience begins as an impulsion and he distinguishes clearly impulsion from impulse, as impulse means a developmental movement of the whole organism within the intention of arising from interaction with the environment, for instance, a craving of a dog for food.48 In other words, impulse is the temporal internal cause for an action and is the beginning phase of a complete experience. Dewey, influenced by Charles Darwin, interprets, that the cause for an action depends on the agent’s environment for its survival, and the agent must secure his materials through forays into the world from various external things in that environment, namely human culture (these forays are protecting the agent’s territory by attacking.). As a consequence of this, the initial impulsion meets opposition from itself. Therefore, the self must translate these obstacles into something beneficial, thus by modifying its obscurity tries into purpose and meaning. Conclusively, Impulsion becomes conscious of itself through overcoming obstacles. When invulnerability controls curiosity and is overcome, the result is happiness.
      Another main argument of Dewey is that the expression is a construction in time.49 When it is continued in time, the interaction of self and the objective conditions form and order themselves. The creator can only recognize what he has done with the raw material at the end of this procedure, which started with a curiosity about the matter. This curiosity -or the fire of inspiration- awakens meanings based on prior experience and then the creator enters a conscious stage. For Dewey, an artwork occurs through the interaction of the structure of the object with the energies of the subject’s experience. They generate an essence that develops increasingly towards fulfillment of impulsions.50 To fully understand this definition we must understand the role of rhythm in art. Rhythm exists in every regular change in nature: dawn and sunset, rain and shine, movements of the moon, waking up and sleeping, heartbeat and breathe etc.51 Thus, it is immediately connected with the working materials. Only when the rhythm incorporated into the external object is experienced is it aesthetic. Since rhythm is a matter of perception, not of mere regularity, it includes what the self contributes.52 Likewise, Albers wrote in an article:

“Life is change: day and night, cold and warmth, sun and rain. It is more in-between the facts than the facts themselves. Rules are the result of experience and come later, and discovering the rules is more life-full than their application. “53

      Although he thinks that art cannot be taught, he believes intimately that art can be learned, but not in the museums as an amusement or spending free time. That shows no understanding or no will of art at all. At that point, to strengthen his argument, he says, that there would not be any religion if it would worked out only on Sunday54; same it goes for art, it is an essential part of the culture and life.
     Coming back to Dewey from this argument, to be able to perceive and appreciate an artwork, which is to experience its aesthetics, the agent needs a continuous interaction between the whole organism and the object, likewise between the agent and the artwork. A guided visit to a museum does not include such interaction. There the observer has the duty to create his own experience by creating similar relations that the artist perceives. Dewey believed, that the relations of lines and colors get their whole passionate meaning within the artist.55 The artist is the one, who initially brings a value and a meaning to the raw material from his or her earlier experience to his or her observation, which results as a completely new object and as a completely new experience.
      Once seeing the experience consciously as doing and undergoing, the connection between productive and appreciative aspects of art emerges from obscurity. Art identifies the process of making something out of physical material that can be perceived by one of the senses. Aesthetic refers to experience as both appreciative and perceptive.56 To sum up, Dewey believed that art assembles the doing and undergoing relation that makes an experience. Something is artistic when its results are able to regulate the production period. To understand the connection of aesthetic experience with the experience of making, Dewey proposes that in case if we have believed something to be drawn from primitive people and then found out that this thing to be a product of nature, we would see it differently. The aesthetic satisfaction is only possible within the connection to the agent’s activity. Another relation not to be forgotten is, that doing and undergoing must form a perceptual totality, and then a product can be called aesthetic. This process starts in imagination and also in observation.
      In his words, one should initiate with the aesthetics in the raw in order to figure out the aesthetics refined. Equivalently goes for experience: passing from disturbance to harmony, having happiness as a result of a deep fulfillment57, in which the being has connected to the environment. Therefore -in his terms of experience-, the aesthetics have the task to reestablish the continuity between the refined experiences, which are works of art, and the experiences of everyday life.
      In Albers’s course about basic design was not about illustration, embellishing or expressing something. They have tried to learn to see that every visible thing has a form and that every form has a meaning.  And producing form learned them that. During his art classes in the BMC, Albers might have been seen extraordinary or too ambitious, while he was running from one corner to the other corner of class like Charlie Chaplin in silent movies, telling students to draw circles and ellipses on the air, before they even draw any on a paper58. Hanging circles up on the walls, strolling in class with the students to make them see it from other angles, he was actually trying to make them see and convince them as Dewey argues, that aesthetics and above all art starts with the imagination and observation.59
      In Dewey’s concept of having an experience, an experience occur, when the material of experience is fulfilled or consummated, such as conclusion or solution. An experience is also differentiated from other experiences, when it holds within itself an individualizing. In an experience every part flows freely into what follow, carrying with preceded without demolishing its identity. Since artworks are significant examples of an experience, as Dewey argues, they have separate elements and all together they create a unity. Rather than losing the identity, the unity of an experience improves an artwork’ quality. This unity of experience, like the unity of body and mind, is not particularly intellectual or emotional, but is determined by a single diffused quality.
      Furthermore, as Albers speaks of his art classes in a more practical way, he states that even when someone is looking at a chair, he should see it apart from its functional characteristics, namely, one should experience it otherwise. For example, one should see it as a person, such as a worker, a servant, or an aristocrat, etc. Only then that thing shows, embraces or represents us and one can recognize the different needs of a chair. Having a daily life object and without demolishing or wrecking it, one can still imagine and see it apart from its characteristics as a material.
      Imagination is a refreshed observation rather than an autonomous ability. It is a combination of various elements into newly unified experiments, but not to be misinterpreted as giving a familiar experience simply a new appearance. It is a mere co-operation of mind, material, meaning and observation. The function of imagination is to combine the richness of outer vision with the energy of inner vision. Therefore, it is named imagination, when the two have interacted with each other. Its relation to conscious experience is stated as follows: Conscious experience contains elements of imagination.
      Namely, imagination is the conscious regulation between the old and the new. As discussed above, the roots of every experience are found in the interaction of the agent with the agent’s environment. Derived by the prior experiences, a meaning is then named conscious, in terms of perception, when meaning becomes a part of the interaction. Therefore, imagination is the gateway that these meanings can be led to a present interaction. To clarify, aesthetic experience is imaginative, but it is also differentiated from other imaginative experiences by the fact that the meanings, which are embodied, are especially wider and deeper.
      Intelligence, in Dewey’s dictionary, has the purpose of perceiving the relation between doing and undergoing by not separating artistic practice from intellect.60 He matches the artist with the scientist. Thus, thinking should not be identified with using mathematical or oral symbols. The artist thinks as intently as the scientist. The artist is responsible to conscious intelligently of every brush stroke to know where she or he is going. In addition, the artist must also see each element in relation to the whole in this process. This procedure of artistic progress to Dewey is a very similar one as in a scientific research or experimentation.
      Understanding schools as science centers, Albers saw the workshops rather as laboratories than studies or lecture rooms.61 They have taken the material and tried to shape it. Then they have observed how it looks and what can be done with it. It was not about making useful things from the very first start. He described their way of doing it, in the way the music students do: they learn to get acquainted with the instruments, in the sense to get means and hands under control before they care about theory or history. Doing exercise before making compositions and making a rehearsal before performing. Discovery and invention are the criteria of creativeness, and in order to get to them62, Albers prefers materials that are little known or normally not used for visual formulation. The goal is that the students use the material in the way they have not thought of before.  Albers uses inductive method in order to avoid mere application of theory and technique. Using this method one comes to conclusions after having made exercises, what also means after having gained experience. He describes in a way: “We choose new problems and attack them in a new way not for the purpose of being new or different, nor for the sake of novelty-craze, but for the purpose of constant observation, and continued self-criticism.”63 That is how they try to counteract habitual application, which is, as he writes, the strongest enemy of creativeness.
      We all agree, that in science the knowledge arises through a process of experiments. Dewey in this sight, as he finds many similarities on the methods of the science and art, argues that the deepened understanding in art comes from the fact, that knowledge is transformed into production and experience by being blended with non-intellectual elements. The material of art is same as science: human and its environment. However, science uses its medium to regulate and predict, art uses its medium to enhance experience.
      Although Albers did not follow any philosophical system consciously, one can infer a description of his method of teaching from Dewey’s words on intelligence and thinking: Albers did not need to think always with logical symbols (of the language); he philosophized in his teachings visually. That was his method to think and to make people learn how to think visually.  He was conscious and intentional like a scientist in his teachings and also in his artistic works.

“After too much non-teaching, non-learning and a consequent non-seeing, –in too many art “activities”–it is time to advocate again a basic step-by-step learning which promotes recognition of development and improvement, that is, of growth, growth of ability. This growth is not only a most exciting experience; it is inspiring and thus the strongest incentive for intensified action, for continued investigation (search instead of re-search), for learning through conscious practice. “64

      Another significant point that Dewey wanted to clarify and differentiate was the notion of recognition and perception. Recognition uses matter as a conceptual method. Perception, on the other hand, is something that causes to bring the past acknowledgment into the present to redefine its content.65 Through consciousness, Dewey believes, one can convert cause and effect into meanings.66 By agreeing with Dewey at that point, Albers lectured about the eye in his classes. He clarified as “The eyes behind the eyes are the decisive one, so the outer eye is merely a tool that we must sharpen by every means so the inner eye is free to express itself.”67, which we assume that with Dewey’s words means; inner eye as the recognition and the outer eye as the perception. Furthermore, Albers stated that it is more important for what happens beyond the retina, namely our perception, because only in our mind occurs reactions or results. His well-known theory is called The Factual Facts and Actual Facts:

“In dealing with color relativity or color illusion, it is practical to distinguish factual facts from actual facts.

The data on wave length––the result of optical analysis of light spectra we acknowledge as fact.

This is a factual fact. It means something remaining what it is, something probably not undergoing changes.

But when we see opaque color as transparent or perceive opacity as translucence, then the optical reception in our eye has changed in our mind to something different. The same is true when we see 3 colors as 4 or as 2, or 4 colors as 3, when we see flat, even colors as intersecting colors and their fluting effect, or when we see distinct 1-contour boundaries doubled or vibrating or just vanishing.

These effects we call actual facts.

.... “actual” is related to “action.” It is something not fixed, but changing with time.”68

      On behalf of Criticism and Perception, Dewey argues against art criticism through judgment, because one’s judgment is not capable of dealing with new things in human experience, such as new movements in art.69 The reason behind it is that judicial criticism misreads a specific technique with aesthetic form. Thus, a good judgment needs a rich background, a state of ordered insight and an ability to distinguish and to unify. He rather suggests that an impression, an unanalyzed effect, would also be enough to start a criticism. Like an artist does by taking objective material from the world and translating it by imaginative vision, this impression should be defined to criticize by discovering the objective features of the artwork. The result is perceptive appreciation that could lead to knowledge either. The challenge of criticism should be re-educating a person’s perception.70 Dewey mentions here again as he states above, that we should take the same steps as the artist did while creating the artwork, to be able to perceive and then to criticize.
      Accepting nature as basics of life, Dewey states that man uses its materials and energies to expand life.71 Through this conscious activity of restoring the union of sensation, needs and actions, art can be proved to be found also in animal life. Life is made intelligible by understanding art. Therefore, art is an essence of life.
      By being in a harmony with Dewey’s ideas, Albers also understood art as an essential part of life and culture. His famous quote “Learn to see and to feel life”72 means that we should not educate our children to be art historians or to be imitators of antiquities, but for artistic seeing, artistic working, and more, for artistic living.73
       While describing the methods of art education, Albers distinguished clearly between the past and the present art by evolving from old art as a historical science74 to an understanding of art as a part of the life. Rather than overestimating old art and continuing with the regular line of historical advancement, we should find out certain problems referring to our own life. For him that is the main subject-matter of art education in order to get a standard to associate with one’s own work. He believed that rules are the result of experience and they come later.
       Discovering rules is more vital than their application. In better words, he believes that the experimental progress includes much investigation and analyze, that it is more important than the outcome, that it has more capacity to learn something out of it, than the result itself. He also gives an example about it by mentioning the botanist Linnaeus: “How could we have begun children’s botanical studies with his final results!”75
      Albers had within his teaching methods considered freehand drawing the most compressive training for art studies. That is why Albers’s basic drawing course had started with a number of technical exercises in order to get an eye and hand under control and to achieve distinct effects. He made the students aware from the very beginning that we do not see with the eye only. Particularly in relationship to the direction of our motoric sense is more competent than the eye. They have drawn a lot in the air, also with eyes closed, and always above the paper, before they have touched the paper itself. The aim of that is seeing the shape of the form before putting it down on the paper. This is meant in the same way as thinking is before speaking, so is seeing before drawing. Albers’s explains that his color course presents learning through experience instead of learning through application of theory and rules. It is a laboratory study aiming at specific psychic effects. Color is the most relative medium in art76; hence, we almost never see in our mind what color physically is. Albers states that the result of both interdependence of, as well as the interaction between color and color, color and form, color and quantity, color and placement. In his opinion, it is always an excitement for the class to demonstrate that one and the same color with changing conditions can look very different, after having recognized the physiological phenomenon of the after-image.
      For instance a brief study of color—of Goethe, Munsell, Ostwald—occurs by Albers’s courses at the end of the and not at the beginning as usual, because the ability to see color and color relationship is more important than to know about color.77
      Concerning human contribution to all these arguments, Dewey continues, experience is never only physical or mental. It is rather matters and events of the world are transmitted in the context of the live creature, the perceiver, and then the creature itself is transformed through this interaction.78 Contrary arguments define experience as a mere happening in the mind, substituting the self into feelings and desires. Thus, some assume that aesthetic quality is projected onto the aesthetic object. For instance, some concluded that in aesthetics, beauty is objectified pleasure79.

     As a conclusion, we can say that there is no certainty that Albers read Dewey already in his time at the Bauhaus. Although it is evident that they have met personally at the BMC. After 2 years of BMC’s foundation, Dewey started to visit the school more often. It ıs proven that “he attended regularly Albers’s classes when he visited the College, watching the master artist who could teach so eloquently and effectively with just an occasional word of comment about pieces he had assigned to train students in the exploration of the most basic forms and materials.”80 In addition, Albers made a picture of Dewey and Rice on the corridor at the BMC. Also, after Albers wrote his article Art as Experience, he asked the other founder of the BMC, Theodore Dreier to send this article to John Dewey. He was really interested in the Philosopher’s opinion.

      Although we cannot classify Albers’s educational philosophy specifically, one can say that the root of his theories started when he read Pestalozzi in pre-teacher’s college, it is most likely true, and that he came across with Kerschensteiner during and before the Bauhaus period and through Kerschensteiner he might have also been introduced to Dewey already in his time in Germany. As we have showed that his art teaching method did not fundamentally changed from the Bauhaus to the BMC. It might be the case that Albers read about Dewey’s theories already when he was at the Bauhaus and developed a practical method since then. Nevertheless, he was unique with his teaching techniques in the way he put these theories to practice. Within his effort, all these theories came into practice that their efficiency on teaching and learning were proven. Around 1970’s during an interview, he stated:

“I have taught, until 10 years ago, for nearly 40 years that is almost half of my life. And when I think that over, now afterwards, I come to a surprising conclusion, namely that I did not teach arts as such, but philosophy and psychology of art.”81

Notes & References
1.  John Dewey, Art as Experience, 1934. Reprint. New York: Penguin Group, 2005.
2. Josef Albers, “Art as Experience”, Progressive Education, Oneonta: International Association of Educators, 1935. (Online source:
3. Dewey, The School and Society, 1899. Reprint. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1942.
4. Karl-Heinz Füssl, „Pestalozzi in Dewey’s Realm? Bauhaus Master Josef Albers among the German-speaking Emigrés Colony at Black Mountain College (1933-1949)”, Paedagogica Historica, London: Taylor & Francis, Vol.2, February 2006, pp. 77ff.
5. Stefan Bittner, Learning by Dewey? John Dewey und die deutsche Pädagogik 1900-2000, Bad Heilbrunn: Klinkhard, p. 26.
6. Irina Mchitarjan, “John Dewey und die pädagogische Entwicklung in Rußland vor 1930. Bericht über eine vergessene Rezeption”, Zeitschrift für Pädagogik, Erfurt: Beltz & Gelberg Vol. 46, 2000, p. 890.
7. Dewey, “Froebel’s Educational Principles”, The School and Society, pp. 111-130. This chapter was added by Dewey in the later editions of the book.
8. Unfortunately, it is unidentified, in which book Froebel wrote this. Although it might be a commentary about him, this quote still defines his ideas clearly. It is supposed to be from the book Mutter- und Koselieder; Eng. trans., “The Songs and Music of Friedrich Froebel's Mother Play”. New York: Appleton and Company, 1901.
9. Kate Silber, Pestalozzi: The Man and His Work. New York: Schocken Books Inc., 1965, p. 141. It is unknown, in which book Pestalozzi wrote this, but Silber made a quotation in her book.
10. Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, Wie Gertrud ihre Kinder lehrt, 1801; Eng. trans., “How Gertrude Teaches her Children: an attempt to help mothers to teach their own children and an account of The method, a report to the Society of the Friends of Education, Burgdorf”. London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co, 1894.
11. Pestalozzi, “Introduction”, How Gertrude Teaches her Children, pp. 17ff.
12. Ibid., mixed quotes from different chapters.
13. Friedrich von Buchholz and Gerhard Buchwald, Die Brandenburgischen Lehrerseminare und die ihnen angegliederten Präparandenanstalten: Einzeldarstellung ihrer Entwicklung, im Auftrag einer Arbeitsgemeinschaft, Berlin: Hauptstelle für Erziehungs- und Schulwesen, 1961.
14. Albers, Aus meiner Erinnerung an mein Lehrer-Jahr in der Bauerschaftsschule Weddern bei Dülmen, essay, unknown source, 1959.
15. Albers, Search Versus Re-search, first of three lectures given at Trinity College, Hartford. Connecticut: Trinity College Press, 1969.
16. Ibid.
17. Ibid.
18. Hannes Beckman, “Formative Years”, 1970; Eckhard Neumann (Ed.), Bauhaus and Bauhaus People. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1970, p. 196.
19. Albers, Werklicher Formunterricht, 1928; Eng. trans., “Teaching Form through Practice”, Bauhaus Magazine Vol. 2, No.3, 1928, pp. 3–7.
20. Ibid.
21. Ibid.
22.Robert Sunley, a commentary on Methods of Rice’s teaching. (Online source:
23. Albers, Werklicher Formunterricht.
24. Albers, Art at BMC, 1946. Unpublished essay for an article on Black Mountain College in Junior Bazaar.
25. BMC: Research Project, Box 9, a commentary on Albers’s teaching of an unknown student, 1946(?).
26. Dewey, Experience and Education, 1938. Reprint. Indianapolis: Kappa Delta Pi, 1998, p. 3.
27. Albers, Interaction of Color, 1963. Reprint. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013.
28. Ibid., p. 1.
29. Ibid., “On Teaching Colors – Some Color Terms”, p. 68.
30. Dewey, Art as Experience.
31. Dewey, Democracy and Education, New York: Macmillan Company, 1916. Reprint. Radford: Wilder Publications, 2009, p. 124
32. Dewey, Lectures in the Philosophy of Education, 1899. Reprint. New York:
Random House, 1966, p. 232.
33. Albers, Werklicher Formunterricht.
34. Ibid.
35. Albers: Interaction of Color, p. 69.
36. Dewey, The School and Society, p. 60.
37. Ibid.
38. Ibid., p.61.
39. Ibid., p.15.
40. Ibid., p.58.
41. Ibid., p.14.
42. Jim Garrison, Stephan Neubert and Kersten Reich, John Dewey's Philosophy of Education: An Introduction and Recontextualization for Our Times, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012, p. 106.
43. Albers, Werklicher Formunterricht.
44. Albers, Art at BMC.
45. Ibid.
46. Albers, Art as Experience.
47. Dewey, “The Varied Substance of the Arts”, Art as Experience, p. 233.
48. Ibid., “The Act of Expression”, p. 60.
49. Ibıd., p. 67.
50. Ibid., “The Organization of Energies”, p. 171.
51. Ibid., “The Natural History of Form”, p. 153.
52. Ibid., “The Organization of Energies”, p. 169.
53. Albers, Art as Experience.
54. Ibid.
55. Dewey, “The Expressive Object”, Art as Experience, p. 91.
56. Ibid., “Having an Experience”, p. 49.
57. Ibid., “The Live Creature”, p. 16.
58. Same exercise is explained with more details in p.
59. Dewey, “Having an Experience”, Art as Experience, p. 52.
60. Ibid., pp. 46ff.          
61. Albers, Art at BMC.
62. Albers, “My Courses at the Hochschule für Gestaltung at Ulm”, USA: Form Magazine, 1967.
63. Albers, unknown quotation from his teaching.
64. Albers, “On Teaching Color – Some Color Terms”, Interaction of Color, p. 68.
65. Dewey, “The Live Creature and Etherial Things”, Art as Experience, p. 24.
66. Ibid., p. 25.
67. BMC: Research Project, Box 9, a commentary on Albers’s teaching of an unknown student, 1946(?).
68. Albers, “On Teaching Color – Some Color Terms”, Interaction of Color, pp. 71ff.
69. Dewey, “Criticism and Perception”, Art as Experience, p. 310.
70. Ibid., p. 338.
71. Ibid., “The Live Creature and Etherial Things”, p. 26.
72. Albers, The Meaning of Art, paper presented at Berea College, Berea, Kentucky, and Black Mountain College, 1940.
73. Albers, Art as Experience.
74. Ibid.
75. Ibid.
76. Albers, My Courses at the Hochschule für Gestaltung at Ulm.
77. Ibid.
78. Dewey, “The Human Contribution”, Art as Experience, p. 256.
79. George Santayana, The Sense of Beauty, New York: Scribner, 1896, p. 52.
80. Katherine Reynolds, “Progressive Ideals and Experimental in Higher Education: The Example of John Dewey and the Black Mountain College”, Education and Culture, West Lafayette: Purdue University Press, Vol. 14, No.1, 1997, pp. 5ff.
81. John Holloway and John Weil, “A Conversation with Josef Albers”, Leonardo, Cambridge: MIT Press, Vol. 3, No. 4, 1970, p. 459.

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