Born: 22 December 1908; Winterthur, Switzerland
Died: 09 December 1994; Berlin, Germany
Active Years: 1927 - 1994
Field: painting, design, architecture, drawing
Art Movement: Concrete Art (Concretism)
Max Bill was a Swiss architect, artist, painter, typeface designer, industrial designer and graphic designer, known as the founder of Concretism (concrete art).
After an apprenticeship as a silversmith during 1924-1927, Bill took up studies at the Bauhaus in Dessau under many teachers including Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Oskar Schlemmer from 1927 to 1929, after which he moved to Zurich.
After working on graphic designs for the few modern buildings being constructed, he built his first work, his own house and studio (1932–3) in Zurich-Höngg. From 1937 onwards he was a prime mover behind the Allianz group of Swiss artists. Bill is widely considered the single most decisive influence on Swiss graphic design beginning in the 1950s with his theoretical writing and progressive work. His connection to the days of the Modern Movement gave him special authority. As an industrial designer, his work is characterized by a clarity of design and precise proportions. As a designer and artist, Bill sought to create forms which visually represent the New Physics of the early 20th century. He sought to create objects so that the new science of form could be understood by the senses: that is as a concrete art. Thus Bill is not a rationalist -as is typically thought- but rather a phenomenologist. One who understands embodiment as the ultimate expression of a concrete art. In this way he is not some much extending as re-interpreting Bauhaus theory. Yet curiously Bill's critical interpreters have not really grasped this fundamental issue.