Helen Daxelhofer + Dr. Alfred Schmidt
Max Bill

5 ¾ x 8 ¼"

Under the leadership and instruction of artists, architects and designers like Walter Gropius, Wassily Kandinsky, Hannes Meyer and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the German design school helped give birth to the Modernist movement across disciplines from industrial design to architecture to pottery. By the time Max Bill arrived in 1927, the Bauhaus was already a major creative force in European thinking with a clear and concise philosophy. In short, form must be simple, form must follow function, and mass production does not preclude an object from being art.

In two years of study, Bill took this mantra to heart before moving back to Zurich to work as a graphic designer. By 1932, he had expanded his scope to architecture, building a studio and living space for himself before turning his attention to the avant-garde “Allianz” of Swiss artists. His personal extensions of the Bauhaus theory, the idea of “concrete art”—making pure abstract form, without natural reference and tangible to the common person, quickly took hold within the group. Within five years he led their first group exhibition, aptly named “Neue Kunst in der Schweiz,” or New Art in Switzerland, at the Kunsthalle in Basel. —Worn & Wound

(Photo: MoMA)