German-American painter and teacher. Born in Bottrup, Germany. Trained as a teacher at Büren 1905-8 and taught for several years in a school. Studied at the Royal Art School, Berlin, 1913-15 (painting his first abstract picture in 1913), the School of Arts and Crafts, Essen, 1916-19, the Munich Academy 1919-20, and the Bauhaus, Weimar, 1920-3, studying assemblage glass painting. On the staff of the Bauhaus 1923-33, first at Weimar and then at Dessau, teaching typography, furniture design, basic design, etc. After the closure of the Bauhaus in 1933 he settled in the USA where he taught at Black Mountain College, North Carolina, 1933-49, was head of the Department of Design, Yale University, New Haven, 1950-9 and also taught widely elsewhere. First one-man exhibition at the Periódico 'El Nacional', Mexico City, 1936. His interest in making series of colour or tonal variations using a standardised abstract compositional schema began in 1932-5 with his 'Treble Clefs' and culminated from 1949 onwards in the series of paintings, lithographs and screenprints 'Homage to the Square' as a systematic exploration of colour relationships. Published Poems and Drawings 1958 and Interaction of Color, demonstrating his theories of colour in painting, 1963. Died in New Haven.
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.3-4