Artists to Explore:

  • Johannes Itten
  • Marcel Breuer
  • Ludwig Miles van der Rohe
  • Laszlo Moholy-Nagy

Read more about Bauhaus: HERE (Notice the multiple pages of resources) and HERE


Katie McCarthy

Johannes Itten was born in Washseldorn Switzerland on November 11, 1888. His father was a teacher and Itten followed in his steps for a time–working for both primary and secondary schools and studying math and science. After spending time abroad though he decided he would much rather be a painter. He then had art training with Adolf Hölzel and worked with other artists in Stuttgart. After, he moved to Vienna and was inspired by and his peers. Through these peers/close friends, he was introduced to Walter Gropius, who invited him to teach at the Bauhaus in Weimar. Itten taught there from 1919 to 1923. While teaching he developed his own “universal doctrine for design” which he taught to his students. Itten worked alongside Gerhard Marcks, Lyonel Feininger, Georg Muche, Oskar Schlemmer, Lothar Schreyer, Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky. In 1926, Itten founded a school of his own for painters, printmakers, photographers, and architects. While working at his school in Berlin he also worked for the Krefeld School of Textile Design. He led this lifestyle until 1938 when he moved to the Netherlands and became director of the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Zurich and affliated with its connected school. His painting career was put on hold for a time while working here because he was so busy teaching, lecturing, and organising exhibits. He picked his painting career back up upon retiring. He also made his knowledge available for years to come by writing several books. He was additionally awarded a honorary doctorate and many art awards. He died in Zurich on March 25, 1967.

Itten was a large part of the Bauhaus movement through his teachings at the various schools. The movement really wanted to focus on the way art was being teached and Itten followed that workshop vs structured classical instruction teaching style.

Unfortunately, not much is known about Itten’s work except that it was largely influenced by color theory and form. Itten’s career was focused much more so on teaching than his paintings. As for media, he worked with paint (tempra and oil), a variety of drawing mediums, and printmaking methods such as lithographs and screenprints .

A link to Itten’s strategies for color combinations:

Richer is comparable in the use of geometric, grid like, color presentation. Both artists combine and compare colors in various methods and distances of the color wheel.

I personally really enjoy the color blocking and use of shapes in Itten’s work. Especially the way they are made to look like a dimensional pattern like in “Farbforman und Struktuten” and also the way ninety degree angles were incorporated in his painting “Circles.” I also enjoy the various color wheel presentations. His color combinations are also very pleasing to me. Additionally, because I also have an interest in teaching art, I wish I could have attended some of his lectures or classes.


“Johannes Itten Biography.” Art Directory. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2014.
“ART TERMS.” Oxford University Press, 2009. Web. 25 Apr. 2014.

Evariste Richer
“Geological Scale” 2009, Print on Paper, 270 x 480 cm

Johannes Itten
(not all information was available)
“Circles” 1916, tempera on canvas
“Farbformen und Struktuten” 1953, gouache, 41 x 31 cm
“Abstract Figures” 1949, goache, 32 x 49 cm
“Der Bachsänger (Helge Lindberg)” 1916, pastel (?)
“Farbkreis” 1961
“Farbenkugel in 7 Lichtstufen und 12 Tönen” 1921, lithograph, 47.3 x 32.1 cm
“Plakat für Ausstellung Baden-Baden” 1965, silkscreen, 48 x 35
“Häuser im Schwarzwald”












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