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Johannes Itten  1888 –  1967 Swiss

This week we looked at the work of Johannes Itten, a Swiss expressionist painter, designer, and teacher associated with the Bauhaus. He was unique in that he approached color like a science. His work established much of what we currently understand and believe about color and his teachings provided the foundation for modern color theory.

Itten was one of the first people to define and identify strategies for successful color combinations. Through his research he devised seven methodologies for coordinating colors utilizing the hue's contrasting properties effectively and defined individual properties and moods for colors. He went on to found his own modern art school in Berlin. In 1938, he moved to the Netherlands and became the Director of the School of Applied Arts and later the Museum of Applied Arts in Zurich. In 1949, he was commissioned to design the Rietberg Museum for non-European art in Zurich. Itten's work and theories have had an immense influence and are taught in all art schools and utilized by the textile industry, architects , and designers . His studies of color palettes and color interaction directly influenced most of the art movements of the 20th century and many contemporary artists and designers. We discussed some of the theories of color and the difference between primary and secondary color and warm and cool colors. I asked the children to create individual pieces contrasting colors and using their own designs.