Painter, commercial artist, draughtsman, set designer, art theorist and college professor
Willi Baumeister was born in Stuttgart in 1889 and while an apprentice house painter attended evening classes at the city’s art academy. Beginning in 1909 he studied there under Oskar Schlemmer and others. In 1913 he participated in the Erster Deutscher Herbstsalon (First German Autumn Salon) at Berlin’s Der Sturm gallery, and in the following year he painted murals for the main hall of the Cologne Werkbund exhibition. In 1928 he was given a teaching post at the Städelsche Kunstschule in Frankfurt. In 1932 he participated in Paul Cassirer’s Lebendige deutsche Kunst (Exhibition of Living German Art) – his last show in Germany until 1945. In 1937 Baumeister’s paintings were proscribed and included in the exhibition Degenerate Art. Baumeister stored more than sixty pictures in Switzerland to keep them out of the hands of the National Socialists. In 1941 he was banned from exhibiting his work. In 1946 he received an appointment at Stuttgart’s academy, renamed the Staatliche Akademie der bildenden Künste, and in 1950 he took part in the Darmstädter Gespräche on the defence of modern art. He died in Stuttgart in 1955.