Willi Baumeister began studying art at the Stuttgart Art Academy in 1905 while still training as a decorative painter. During his studies Oskar Schlemmer was his fellow student and became a close friend. The exchange with him is also repeatedly reflected in Baumeister's oeuvre. His acquaintance with Kasimir Malevich, Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, Paul Klee and Hans Arp also find artistic echoes in his work from time to time. Nevertheless, Baumeister found his very own form of expression. Very quickly he moved away from a purely pictorial style of painting towards abstraction. However, his works of art can by no means be described as non-representational, but rather forms and figurative elements repeatedly appear in his painting that can be associated with objects or people. Although he received a call to the State Bauhaus in 1928, he turned it down and took up a professorship at the Städelschule in Frankfurt instead. Driven out of office by the National Socialists and finally banned from painting in 1941, Baumeister went into internal emigration during the National Socialist regime. Despite the occupational ban, he continued to paint and also reflected on this difficult time in his book Das Unbekannte in der Kunst (The Unknown in Art), which appeared in 1947. In 1946 he continued his work as a university lecturer until his retirement from the Stuttgart Art Academy. In 1949 he founded the group ZEN 49, which advocated a new beginning for art after the Second World War. Baumeister's œuvre achieved great fame in the post-war period, especially as abstraction became the trend. He took part in several biennials and also in the first documenta. In 1955, he died in his studio in Stuttgart while working on a painting.