Max Bill (1908-1994) was a Swiss architect, artist, painter, typeface designer, industrial designer, and graphic designer. He is known for founding the Concrete Art movement, which was based in math and geometry as the physical manifestations of rationalism.
After an apprenticeship as a silversmith during 1924-1927, Bill became interested in modern architecture after encountering Le Corbusier’s L’Esprit Nouveau at the 1925 Paris Exposition des Arts Décoratifs. Bill studeied at the Bauhaus in Dessau under Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Josef Albers, and Oskar Schlemmer. As a designer and artist, he sought to create objects that integrated geometry and mathematics, and experimented with Constructivism. He is most known for his chronoscopes (wrist watches) which are manufactured by the Junghans company in Germany.
Bill later co-founded the Ulm School of Arts and Crafts, where he served as the head of architecture and product design during the 1950s. He showed work in several important shows over the course of his career, including the first international exhibition of Concrete Art in 1944 and a 50-year survey in Zurich, 1960. His work was the subject of retrospectives at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1974, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City in 1988. His work was shown in Documenta I (1955), II (1959), and III (1964), and his 1951 retrospective at the São Paulo Museum of Modern Art deeply influenced an entire generation of Brazilian artists. In 1951 he was awarded the Grand Prix for sculpture at the Sao Paulo Biennale and the Grand Prix for Swiss pavilion at the Milan Triennale. His works are also held in the collections of a number of institutions, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Art Institute, Chicago; and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., among others.