This term was first introduced in 1930 by Dutch artist Theo van Doesburg, who said that “nothing is more concrete, more real, than a line, a color, a plane.” Concrete art finds meaning only in its own material form, and artworks (typically paintings and sculptures) incorporate lines, colors, and/or flat surfaces (planes) that do not represent anything. Similar to but distinct from abstraction, Concrete art does not depict visual symbols or ideas from the natural world.

Max Bill, a Swiss artist and designer who was educated at the Bauhaus, became a founder and leader of the Concrete art movement in the later 1930s.