Herbin was born in 1882 in Quiévy en Cambrai, France. He is one of the most important geometric artists of the 20th Century. As early as 1899 he experimented with pointillism, and then cubism, but he found his own style with geometric art.

During the 1930s he participated in Cercle et Carre, and became President of the Abstraction-Creation group. He was a co-founder of the Salon de Réalités Nouvelles in the 1950s, and saw to it that the MADI artists were allowed to exhibit there. Herbin developed his “alphabet plastique”, where forms and colors stand for letters, and greatly influenced several generations of geometric painters. He died in 1960 at the age of 78.