(German, 1889–1955) was a painter, scenic designer, teacher, and typographer, known for his Classical Modernist works and as a leading figure of the avant-garde in Germany in the 1940s and 1950s. Born in Stuttgart, Baumeister completed an apprenticeship as a decorative painter while studying at the Stuttgart Art Academy. Between 1909 and 1912, he attended classes taught by influential artist Adolf Hölzel
, and befriended fellow painter and designer Oskar Schlemmer
. In 1912, Baumeister studied at the Cercle International des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and opened his first studio in Stuttgart. The following year, he participated in an exhibition at the Gallery Der Sturm in Berlin, and, in 1914, produced four wall pictures for the Werkbund Exhibition
After serving in World War I, he produced his first Mauerbilder
, panels characterized by Cubist forms and wall-like relief structures, created by adding sand and putty to the paint. He also began sketching stage and costume designs for performances at theaters in Stuttgart, and worked in commercial graphics.
In 1927, Baumeister was offered a professorship in typography, commercial graphics, and fabric printing at the Frankfurt School of Applied Arts. In addition, Baumeister joined the Cercle et Carré (Circle and Square) in 1930, a group of abstract artists based in Paris. He received the Württemberg State Prize for the painting Line Figure
, and later became a member of the artist association Abstraction-Création.
Following the rise of the Nazi Party in 1933, Baumeister was banned as a degenerate artist, and was dismissed from his professorship. During the war, Baumeister wrote Das Unbekannte in der Kunst (The Unknown in Art)
, which was first published in 1947. He spent his time traveling and researching painting techniques and Oriental Art, which inspired him to create his Eidos
pictures and Ideogrammes
He resumed teaching 1946, when he accepted a post at the Kunstakademie in Stuttgart. His style continued to develop during this time. The mythological themes and somber-hued paintings created immediately after the war were slowly replaced by his series of Metaphysical Landscapes
, which were lighter in color and more abstract. In the Sun Figures
and Light Movements
series, the ground of the picture, which the artist prepared with filler, was worked with combs, which gave the surface a three-dimensional appearance.
He died in 1955 in his studio in Stuttgart.
Today, his works can be found in institutions around the world, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Neue Galerie in New York, the Tate Gallery in London, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid.