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Max Bill – the master's vision

(Max Bill – das absolute Augenmass)

Timeline Max Bill

Der junge Bill 1908
Born and raised in Winterthur, Switzerland
Approved School in Oetwil am See ZH/Switzerland
Arts and Crafts school Zurich
Study trip to Paris (Le Corbusier, Melnikoff)
Study trip to Italy
bauhaus 1927-1928
Study at the Bauhaus in Dessau with Albers, Kandinsky, Klee, Moholy-Nagy and Schlemmer
Stay in Positano, Italy
Painter, sculptor, graphic designer, publicist, architect in Zurich
Variationen 1934 1930
Took part in the cabaret „the Crater“
Marriage to Binia Spoerri
Member of „Abstraction Création“ in Paris
Acquaintance with Hans Arp, first visit to Piet Mondrian
Hoengg 1933
Move into own house in Zurich-Höngg, the beginning of the lifelong friendship with Georges Vantongerloo in Paris, first larger sculpture
Sculpture: the infinite loop. Painting: “quinze variations sur un même thème"
Contact with Max Ernst and Alberto Giacometti
Stay in the Ticino with Aline Valangin, Max Ernst and Vladimir Vogel
triennale 1936
Swiss Pavillon at the Triennale di Milano, awarded the Grand Prix
First version of the text for “Concrete Design”
Joined the Swiss Artist’s Association „Alliance”,
Contact with Antoine Pevsner
Paris: first meeting with Marcel Duchamps,
Printing of “quinze variations” in Paris, at the same printers used by Henri Matisse.
Text” Concrete Design” in work no. 8/1938.



die gute form
Worked with Hans Schmidt for the Swiss National Exhibition.
Holiday in Chateau de la Sarraz with Hans Curjel, Ernesto N. Rogers, Alfred Roth, Georges Vantongerloo
Repeated military service
The Swiss state security considers Max Bill a “left extremist” to be interned in case of war
Text „Paul Klee“, Work No. 8/1940
Bill founds “Alliance Publishing”
Construction of a house in Bremgarten using prefabricated building elements. Birth of his son, Jakob Bill. First exhibition “Concrete Art” at the Kunsthalle Basle.
Beginning of design activities
Lecturer at the Arts and Crafts school Zurich
Working on reconstruction after the war, Contact with Adrien Turel, stay in Paris with George Vantongerloo, contact with Frank Kupka there
First conference in Milan for the reconstruction in Italy
Large version of the sculpture “Continuity“ and first statue, friendship with Henry van de Velde
First journeys to Germany after 1932, meeting with Willi Stoph in Leipzig, guest lecturer in Darmstadt, Stuttgart, stay in Frankfurt, Munich, Ulm.
Lecture at the SWB in Basle: “Beauty out of function and as a function”, printed in work no. 8/1949
Exhibition „the good shape“ at the trade fair in Basle, at the Work Federation exhibition in Cologne, subsequently as a travelling exhibition in Switzerland, Germany and Austria
Kandinsky award
Member of the UAM, Union des artistes moderne, Paris
Exhibition “Pevsner, Vantongerloo, Bill” at the Kunsthaus Zurich (text in the catalogue)
Tomas Maldonado visits Zurich
Monograph “Robert Maillart”, bridge builder
Planning the College for Design in Ulm
ulm_gartenhof 1951
Swiss Pavillon at the Triennale di Milano, Grand Prix again (as in 1936) and two gold medals, working in association with Le Corbusier, Ernesto Nathan Rogers, Georges Vantongerloo, Adrian Turel and Giuseppe Somona
Solo exhibition of Max Bill in São Paulo (March-May), Bill does not attend.
Grand Prix for sculpture at the Biennale de Arte São Paulo, Publication about Kandinsky
On 14 Jan. the Swiss consulate reports to the Swiss state security that “Ingeborg Scholl”, survivor of the Nazi murder of the siblings Scholl, has “left extremist” connections.
Architect and principle of the College of Design in Ulm
Bill mit Modell 1952-1953
New edition of “Concerning The Spiritual In Art” by Kandinsky
Member of the Central Board of SWB (until 1962)
Various publications
Memorial “the unknown political prisoner” in an international competition
Journey to Brazil, accompanied by Binia Bill,
Lectures in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo
Member of the jury for the big architecture award of São Paulo
Journey to Peru, where Bill meets Josef and Ami Albers again after 25 years
Onward journey to North America, Meeting with Ray and Charles Eames, Philip Johnson, Antoine Pevsner, Edgar Kaufmann jun., Konrad Wachsmann, Mies van der Rohe and so on,
Stay in Chicago and New York
Third journey to São Paulo
Triennale di Milano, gold medal
Ulm pavillon at the National Exhibition in Stuttgart
Publications about Mies van der Rohe and others
The Monograph Max Bill is published in Buenos Aires
Project for a memorial to Georg Büchner in Darmstadt
Resigned as principal in Ulm, continued as lecturer there
Became member of the German work federation
Award for the “Compasso d’oro”
Portrait mit Drahtfigur 1957
Resignation from Ulm due to differences of opinion with the siblings Scholl Foundation (sponsorship of the HfG Ulm)
Reopening of the Zurich studio
Building of the Cinévox in Neuhausen
Member of the BSA, association of Swiss architects
Arrangement of the exhibition “Swiss design” in London
On 1. April the Swiss federal state security noted Bill as a cosignatory to the petition to lift the ban on showing the film “Way to Fame” by Stanley Kubrik – and as member of the “Club Bel étage”
Advisor for the national exhibition (Expo) Lausanne 1964,
Exhibition “concrete art, 50 years progress”, “documentation on marcel duchamps”
Construction of Lichtdruck AG, Dielsdorf (prefabrication)
Election to the federal art commission (1961-69) )
The French state buys an “infinite loop”
Leading architect of section pictures and design Expo 64
Creates a courtyard with fountain in Berlin
Politics: Member of the Zurich regional council
Construction: Office building „Imbau“ Leverkusen
radiostudio zuerich 1962
Journey to Montreal
Building of radio studios Zurich
Organisation of the Vantongerloo exhibition in London
On 3 Nov. Swiss State Security notes Max Bill as member of the patrons committee for political amnesty in Franco-Spain
Stage set for „odipus“ in the theater in Ulm
Honorary member of the American Institute of Architects, Journey to Saint Louis, Chicago, Montreal, London
Monograph Max Bill appears in London, voted to the board of trustees of the siblings Scholl foundation, Expo 64 opening
Sculpture in Uster “rhythm in space”
George Vantongerloo dies in Paris
Swiss State Security registers Bill on 16.3 as patron member of the “anti-atomic” exhibition in Lausanne
Tamins 1965
Construction and furnishing of a tent theatre for „König Ubu“
Participation in the congress “vision 65” at the southern Illinois University, Journey to Dallas
Building the Lavina bridge in Tamins GR, Switzerland
Journey to Chicago, Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York
Extension buildings for radio studio Zurich
International award
Décor and state set in the state opera Hamburg commissioned by Rolf Liebermann
Sculpture “family of five half balls” for the University Karlsruhe
On 3.3. Swiss State Security registers Max Bill as Vietnam war opponent

Fiche Bundespolizei
haus bill 1967
Sculpture: 14 m tall „wind column“ for the Swiss pavillon at the world exhibition in Montreal
Building of his new home with integrated studio in Zumikon
Appointment as Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Hamburg (until 1974)
Lecture in Aspen USA
Elected member of national council of the parliament, in Berne (until 1971)
On 30 Oct. Swiss State Security registers (by phone tapping) that the “young section PdA-Zurich” congratulated Bill on his election to the national council
Zwilling 1968
The town of Hamburg buys the sculpture “rhythm in space”
Participation in the film “22 questions for Max Bill by Georg Radanowicz
Presentations in London at the Institute of Contemporary Art, and in Düsseldorf
Film about Max Bill by Petra Kipphoff
On 18 Dec. Swiss State Security registers Bill’s preparations for a „ Conference for European security and cooperation” in Vienna
Biennale Nürnberg
Stay in New York
Journey to Graz and Vienna
Jury member of “the good shape” of the Federal Ministry of Economics in Germany
Co-editor of „the great names in world history“ (Kindler)
Journey to Tokyo with Federal Councillor Gnägi
Member of the subcommittee assisting the urban planning of Jerusalem committee
Swiss Federal security registers Bill as owner of the house “Flying Fish” in Zurich, reputed to offer cheap rents and living communes for students
Member of „Conseil supérieur de la création esthétique industrielle“at the French Ministry
Presentation at the Mondrian-Symposium in New York, Journey to London, Boston; Buffalo, New York
Jury member of the international diamond jewellery competition
Award at the Biennale for sculpture in Budapest
nach innen 1972
Member of the international jury for the Exempla Award, Munich
Member of the Academy of fine arts in Berlin
Journey to New York, Buffalo and Toronto
Arrangement of the Fritz Glarner exhibition at the Kunsthalle Berne
Stay in Cairo, Luxor and Karnak
Various presentations in Germany and in the USA
Journey to Stockholm
Member of the Royal Flemish Academy of sciences, fine arts and literature
Honorary counsellor of UNESCO
Stay in Rome
Angela Bill und Max Bill 1974
Preparation for the Max Bill travelling exhibition in the USA
Journey to Buffalo, Washington, New York
Lecture on the Almir Mavignier exhibition in Zurich
Max Bill gets to know the student Angela Thomas in Zurich
Arrangement of the exhibition “Max Bill” in Los Angeles
Journey to L.A., Mexico City, Oaxaca, Monte Alban, San Francisco, New York
Lectures in Zurich, Stockholm and Rapperswil
Stay in Washington and Jerusalem
vierfarbiges system 1976
Laudation at the opening of Frank Kupka exhibition at the Kunsthaus Zurich
Max Bill exhibition in Hamburg, Berlin, Stuttgart
Arrangement of the Bill exhibition in Berlin with Angela Thomas
Experts conference for UNESCO in Nairobi,
Cooperation for the film “Max Bill” by Jean-Louis Roy, Lecture at the Brancusi centenary in Bucharest,
Bauhaus college Weimar
50th anniversary of Bauhaus Dessau
Planning of a studio complex for Yaacov in France
twins 1977 1977
Lectures in Stuttgart and Gelsenkirchen
Completion of the Radio Zurich buildings
Preparations for a Max Bill exhibition in Parma, Pfäffikon, Linz and Vienna
Installation of „three columns“ in Ulm
Arrangement of the Fritz Glarner exhibition, Bottrop
The “infinite loop” in the town of Essen
Travel to Teheran, mounting of “rhythm in space”
Beginning of planning for a pavillon sculpture on Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich
Extension of the house in Höngg for the son’s family
Preparation for the travelling exhibition of Georges Vantongerloo in USA
Board member of the Bauhaus Archive Berlin
Exhibition in Caracas, Travel to Venezuela, Mexico, USA
Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
Stuttgart university honours Bill with the title Dr. ing. h.c.
Warhol: Portrait Bill 1980
Exhibition in Winterthur and town Art Award
Retrospective in Madrid and Barcelona
Solo exhibition in Lugano
Mounting of a granite column in Geneva
Retrospective Georges Vantongerloo in Washington and in Los Angeles with Angela Thomas, Visiting Ray Eames, and travelling to New York with Angela Thomas
Mounting of a ball sculpture in St. Gallen
Max Bill is portrayed twice by Andy Warhol
Arrangement of the Vantongerloo exhibition in Brussels,
The model of the Pavillon sculpture in Zurich causes a public debate
Vantongerloo exhibition in the Kunsthaus Zurich with Angela Thomas
Max Bill is honoured with a hall in Padua
Journey to Jerusalem, meeting
Einstein statue by Max Bill in Ulm, inauguration
Major order for “continuity” from the Deutsche Bank


Installation of two statues 20+16 meters tall in Munich
Sculptures are placed in Zurich and Riehen BL
Pavillon sculpture is erected on the Bahnhofstrasse Zurich
Beginning of “continuity” for the Deutsche Bank in Carrara, Italy¨
Journey to Chicago, New York, Paris and Budapest
Granite sculpture in Goslar
Chairman of the Bauhaus Archive, Berlin
Two sculptures in Tel Aviv
Journey to Egypt and Berlin
Presentation of two sculptures in Berlin
Solo exhibition in Todi, Italy
Spiral in Dortmund
Commandeur in the “Ordre des arts et des letters”
Retrospective Georges Vantongerloo in Milan, Berlin, Bottrop
Vice-president Academy of Arts Berlin
Retrospective Max Bill in Budapest, Belgrad
Presentation of “continuity” at the head office of the Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt
Sculpture in Utrecht
Transkoloration 1987
Designing of a Swiss 5-Franc-coin for 100-anniversary of Le Corbusier
Retrospective Max Bill in Weimar, Prag, Frankfurt
Erster Preisträger des Premio Marconi in Bologna
First winner of Premio Marconi award in Bologna
Exhibition of graphic series in Leipzig, Bauhaus Dessau, Rostock
Tributes for 80th birthday in Winterthur
Lecture by Max Bill in Moscow, accompanied by Dr. Angela Thomas
Final entry in data of Swiss State Security:
Death of first wife Binia Bill-Spoerri
Solo exhibition Max Bill at the Kunsthaus Zurich and KKK
Max Bill Poster exhibition in Zurich
Memorial exhibition at the HfG in Ulm
Piepenbrock award for sculpture in Osnabrück
Order for monument placed by Ernst Bloch, Ludwigshafen
Three statues and square design in Stuttgart-Möhringen
Max Bill gets to know the American artist Keith Haring
Sculpture in front of Winterthur Insurance building mounted, later collapsed
ohne titel 1990-91
Solo exhibition Max Bill in Ludwigshafen
Helmut Kraft award in Stuttgart
Arrangements for the play ”Hercules in the Augean Stables” by Friedrich Dürrenmatt to commemorate 700 years of Swiss federal government at the Bundeshaus in Berne
Graphic series in Ljubljana, Slowenia
Solo exhibition of Max Bill at the Casa Rusca, Locarno arranged with Angela Thomas
30 December marriage to Angela Thomas
Erection of a large sculpture in Studen near Biel-Bienne
Installation of a granite sculpture in Zurich-Zollikon
“Endless steps” bought by Swiss government for the federal University of technology in Lausanne
Prix Imperiale 1993
Creation of Movado clock/watch
Bill and Angela Thomas received by Richard von Weizsäcker and Manfred Stolpe in Berlin
Presentation of the “Nobel prize” for art,
The fifth imperial premium in Tokio
Construction of a large granite sculpture in Schaan
Inauguration of a multicolour pavillon sculpture made of granite in Berlin
Large sculpture by the European Patent Office in Munich
Wooden pavillon sculpture at the Deutsche Bank in Ulm Arrangement of Hans Hinterreiter exhibition in Baden
Honorary doctorate at the ETH Zurich
Death at the airport in Berlin

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