Max Bill (Swiss, 1908–1994) was a leader in the Concrete Art movement. In 1924, he trained as a silversmith at the School of Applied Arts in Zurich, but after seeing the work of Le Corbusier, his interests shifted to architecture, and he became a student at the Bauhaus in Dessau. There, he studied under notable artists such as Joseph Albers, Wassily Kandinsky, and Paul Klee. After moving to Zurich in 1929, Bill began pursuing a career as an architect, sculptor, painter, industrial designer, and graphic artist. Inspired by the ideas of Theo van Doesburg, Bill formulated principles of Concrete Art, applying mathematics and geometry to his work.

In 1944, Bill founded the journal Abstrakt Konkret, and, in the 1950s, started writing monographs, catalogues, and journal entries exploring his theories of Abstract Constructivism. Together with Otl Aicher and activist Inge Scholl, Bill founded the Ulm Hochschule für Gestaltung (College of Design), where he became the head of the architecture and Industrial Design departments. Between 1967 and 1974, he taught environmental design at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste (College of Fine Arts) in Hamburg. After joining Allianz (Union of Modern Swiss Artists) in 1941, he founded a publishing company of the same name, and was a member of Abstraction-Création artist association, CIAM (Congrès Internationaux d'Architecture Moderne), Academy for the Arts in Berlin, Bauhaus Archival Association of Berlin, I.C.P. (Institut Für Progressive Kultur), U.A.M. (Union des Artistes Modernes), and various other associations and councils of German and Swiss workers. During his career, Bill was awarded the Grand Prix in both Brazil and Italy. His other achievements include the Award for Art in Zurich and two honorary degrees.

Timeline

1908
Born on December 22 in Winterthur, Switzerland
1924–1927
Studied at the Arts and Crafts Academy in Zurich
1927–1929
Apprenticeship as a silversmith
1929
Moved to Zurich
1932
From this point on he was active as an architect, painter, graphic artist and sculptor
1936
Since then he was active in public relations
1944
From then on he was active as product designer
1931–1956
Co-founder and director of the Ulm School of Arts and Crafts
1961–1964
Head architect of the building and design sectors for the Swiss national exhibition in Lausanne 1964
1967
Became professor at the State School for Fine Arts in Hamburg and received awards, honors and an honorary degree
1968
Received the Zurich Art Award
1994
Died at the age of 86 years on December 9 during a visit to Berlin