Swiss artist Max Bill was fluent in many art forms, such as architecture, painting, typography, and graphic design. He was one of the most important 20th century artists.
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Stimulator of Modern Concrete Art
Max Bill studied at the Bauhaus from 1927 to 1929. Then, he moved to Zurich and started working. In 1931, he worked according to the principles of concrete art, demanding a “universal art of absolute clarity based on a controlled arithmetical construction.” At the Dessau Bauhaus, he studied with Josef Albers, Wassily Kandinsky, and Paul Klee among others.
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From 1932 to 1936, Bill was a member of the group of Parisian artists “Abstraction-Création.” In 1936, Bill formulated the Principles of Concrete Art, as a refinement of the ideas published by Theo van Doesburg, and became one of the most important exponents of this artistic genre.
Bill sought to continue the traditions of the Dessau Bauhaus as the spiritual father and architect of the “Hochschule für Gestaltung” in Ulm. Additionally, Bill was dean and head of the department for architecture and product form since 1952.
Max Bill’s name is mainly associated with the terms “Concrete Art” and “Environmental Design.” Furthermore, his theoretical publications transformed him into one of the most fruitful stimulators of Modern Concrete Art in postwar Europe among the generation of Bauhaus students.
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Concrete art aims to translate abstract ideas into concrete objects. Together with other Swiss artists, Bill represented the Zurich School of Concrete Art, which was inspired by Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee.
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Bill drew on 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 tools for the home.
Some of his most famous works include the “Ulmer Hocker,” or “Bill Hocker,” stool and the large granite “Pavillon Skulptur” located on Zurich’s Bahnhofstrasse.
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Bill’s versatile work dominated painting, starting initially with landscapes and portraits until he assumed his independent character from around 1931 onwards. Then, he used coherent geometric-constructive abstraction. Further, he made a name for himself as an artist and sculptor in the 1930s with his abstract geometric creations, which quickly became a focal point in the Swiss art scene.
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During his career, Bill received several awards, including the Grand Prix in Brazil for sculpture at the Sao Paulo Biennale in 1951. In the same year, in Italy, he was awarded the Grand Prix for the Swiss pavilion at the Milan Triennale. Then, in 1987, he received the Frank J. Malina Leonardo Award. Also, Bill held over 200 solo exhibitions of his work.
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For more references, please also visit: www.jbdesign.it/idesignpro