Johannes Itten (November 11, 1888 - May 27, 1967) was a Swiss painter, designer teacher, writer and theorist associated with the Bauhaus school.
Born in Südern-Linden, Switzerland, he had a Friedrich Froebel influenced education and was initially a teacher where he was exposed to the ideas of psychoanalysis. He later enrolled at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Geneva but then returned to Berne, after being unimpressed with the educators there.
He then received some teaching from Eugène Gilliard, who was an abstract painter. From 1919-1922, Itten taught at the Bauhaus, developing the so-called preliminary course which was to teach students the basics of material characteristics, composition, and colour. He later published a book - The Art of Color- which describes these ideas as a furthering of Adolf Hozel's colour wheel. Itten's colour wheel went on to include 12 colours.
After falling out with Walter Gropius, he resigned from the Bauhaus School. His works exploring the use and composition of colour resemble the square op-art canvases of artists such as Josef Albers, Max Bill and Bridget Riley, and the expressionist works of Wassily Kandinsky.