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Max Bill

Winterthur/Schweiz 1908 - Berlin 1994


From 1924 to 1927 Max Bill trained as a silversmith at the Zurich "Kunstgewerbeschule". Subsequently he studied at the Dessau Bauhaus under Josef Albers, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and others. In 1929 Max Bill moved to Zurich, where he worked as an architect, painter, graphic artist and sculpturist and later also as a product designer. Bill's versatile work was dominated by painting, beginning initially with landscapes and portraits until taking on his own independent character, from around 1931 onwards, with the use of consistent geometric-constructive abstraction.
From 1932 to 1936 Max Bill was a member of the Parisian group of artists "Abstraction-Création". In 1933 he held his first exhibition at the group's gallery. During repeated sojourns to Paris he developed friendships with Hans Arp, Piet Mondrian and Auguste Herbin. In 1936 Bill formulated the Principles of Concrete Art, as a refinement of the ideas published by Theo van Doesburg. Bill is one of the most important exponents of this art genre.
In 1937 he worked on a monograph on Le Corbusier and entered the association of modern Swiss artists "Allianz". In 1944 Bill founded the journal "abstrakt konkret". He also organized an exhibition in the Basel "Kunsthalle" under the same title and obtained a teaching position to teach "Formlehre" (theory of form) at the Zurich "Kunstgewerbeschule".

As spiritual father and architect of the Ulm "Hochschule für Gestaltung", and as principal and head of the department for architecture and product form from 1952, Bill tried to continue the traditions of the Dessau Bauhaus. In 1959 and 1964 Max Bill participated in the Kassel documenta. In 1964 he was the head architect of the sector "Bilden und Gestalten" at the Swiss national exhibition in Lausanne.
From 1967 to 1974 he worked as a professor at the "Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste" in Hamburg, where he taught environmental design. In Düsseldorf Max Bill set up the new art gallery "Denise René und Hans Mayer" in 1971.
During the 1980s he created several monumental sculptures. At the same time, he traveled to various European and other cities to organize retrospectives of his own works. His importance in the development of modern art is underpinned by numerous prizes and awards.
Max Bill's name is primarily associated with the terms "Concrete Art" and "Environmental Design". Furthermore, his theoretical publications have turned Max Bill into one of the most fruitful stimulators of Modern Concrete Art in post-war Europe among the Bauhaus generation of students.


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