Hungarian-born abstract painter, designer, typographer, photographer, film-maker and theorist. Born in Bácsborsód. Studied law at Budapest University. After serving in the Austro-Hungarian Army and being severely wounded, started to draw and in 1917 to paint. Moved to Berlin 1920-3. Began to paint abstract pictures in 1920 under the influence of Malevich and Lissitzky, and had his first one-man exhibition at the Galerie Der Sturm, Berlin, 1922. Met Gropius and was appointed in 1923 to the Bauhaus at Weimar, first as head of the metal workshop, then head of the preparatory course; moved with the Bauhaus to Dessau 1925. Became much involved with experimental photography, including photograms, and published Malerei, Fotographie, Film 1925. Made a 'Light-Space-Modulator' 1922-30. Resigned from the Bauhaus in 1928 and returned to Berlin, where he temporarily more or less gave up painting and made stage designs, abstract films and typographical works. Published Vom Materiel zur Architektur 1929. Moved to Amsterdam in 1934 and from 1935-7 lived in London, where he worked as art adviser to Simpson's and London Transport, and began to make paintings incorporating plastics. Moved in 1937 to Chicago, where he became director of the New Bauhaus and later opened his own School of Design. Died in Chicago.
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, p.531