During his apprenticeship as a decorative painter Willi Baumeister already visited evening classes at the Stuttgart "Kunstakademie". From 1909 to 1912 he attended Adolf Hölzel's composition class where he first met the later "Bauhaus" painter Oskar Schlemmer who was to become a life-long friend.
In 1919-20 he produced his first "Mauerbilder", panels with a wall-like relief structure - created by adding sand and putty to the paint - and cubist forms. These works brought about Baumeister's international breakthrough.
In 1928 the Frankfurt "Städelschule" appointed the artist to run the applied arts, typography and fabric printing class. Willi Baumeister joined the "Cercle Carré" in 1930 and in 1931 he became a member of "Abstraction Création".
During the "Third Reich" Baumeister was banned as a "degenerate" artist and rarely showed himself in public. During the war Baumeister wrote the book "Das Unbekannte in der Kunst" (The Unknown in Art) which was first published in 1947. During these years as a "degenerate artist" he spent his time studying prehistoric and Oriental art, which was to provide him with the motifs for his "Eidos" pictures and "Ideogrammes".
He resumed teaching after the war when he accepted a post at the "Kunstakademie" in Stuttgart. With his extensive oeuvre and his art-theoretic publications Willi Baumeister is considered one of the most important modern German artists. His varied oeuvre ranges from figurative works at the beginning to increasingly abstract forms.