Max Bill – Swiss Artist (1908-1994)


One of the most fruitful stimulators of Modern Concrete Art
Max Bill (1908-1994) was a Swiss artist fluent in many art forms such as architecture, painting, typography, and graphic design. He was one of the most important artists and creative talents of the 20th century.

He studied at the Bauhaus from 1927 until 1929, which is when he moved to Zurich and began working. In 1931 he began working within the principles of art concret, calling for a “universal art of absolute clarity based on controlled arithmetical construction.” At the Dessau Bauhaus he studied under Josef Albers, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and others.

Info source: www.oswego.edu

From 1932 to 1936 Max Bill was a member of the Parisian group of artists “Abstraction-Création”. In 1936 Bill formulated the Principles of Concrete Art, as a refinement of the ideas published by Theo van Doesburg.

M. Bill is one of the most important exponents of this art genre.

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.

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.

Info source: www.max-bill.com

He devoted himself to concrete art, which has the aim of translating abstract ideas into concrete objects. Together with other Swiss artists, he was a representative of the Zurich School of Concrete Art, which was inspired by Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee.

Verdichtung zu caput mortuum, M. Bill
Verdichtung zu caput mortuum, M. Bill

Source image: www.abstract-art.com

What are the most important works of Max Bill?

Bill drew upon mathematics and physics to generate his unique abstract geometric style. He employed different shapes, textures and materials to create paintings, sculptures, buildings, bridges, furniture and household utensils.

Some of his more famous works include the “Ulmer Hocker” or “Bill Hocker“, stool and the large granite “Pavillon Skulptur” situated on Zurich’s Bahnhofstrasse.

Ulmer Hocker, M. Bill
Ulmer Hocker, M. Bill

Source image: de.wikipedia.org

Pavillon Skulptur, M. Bill
Pavillon Skulptur. M. Bill

Source image: www.artsy.net

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. He made his name as an artist and sculptor in the 1930s with his abstract geometric creations and swiftly became a focal point in the Swiss art scene.

During Bill’s career he received several awards. In Brazil he was awarded the Grand Prix for sculpture at the Sao Paulo Biennale in 1951, and in the same year, in Italy he was awarded the Grand Prix for Swiss pavilion at the Milan Triennale. In 1987 he received the Frank J. Malina Leonardo Award. He also managed to hold over 200 one-man exhibitions of his work.

Endless Ribbon, Version IV, M. Bill

Source image: www.artsy.net

Info source: www.swissinfo.ch

For more references, please also visit: www.jbdesign.it/idesignpro