Born in Mannheim in 1910, Rudi Baerwind began to study painting at the Munich Art Academy, transferring to the Berlin Art Academy and the Académie Fernand Léger in Paris in 1932.
Rudi Baerwind returned there in 1936, showing work at the "Salon des Surindepéndants". Still living in Paris in 1939, Rudi Baerwind was interned and conscripted into the "Wehrmacht" when the Germans invaded France in 1942. Two years later Baerwind was a prisoner of war of the Russians and all his work was lost in 1945.
He began again in his native Mannheim in 1945. Rudi Baerwind, who at first had done lively figurative compositions in the early German Expressionist manner, turned to Surrealism for a while but switched to an abstract style and, in the post-war years to the prevailing international style. On moving to Paris again in 1957, Baerwind came under the sway of French Informel.
His work from that period is occasionally a blend of abstract and figurative elements that place it close to "CoBrA". Living alternately in Paris and Mannheim, Baerwind organised the first joint German-French exhibition in 1959, which was shown in Munich and Paris.
In 1968 Rudi Baerwind founded the experimental "Symposion der Künste" in Mannheim as an exhibition venue and art forum. That year he was made an honorary member of the Rome and London Academies. In the early 1970s Buddhist and Greco-Roman mythological motifs and themes surfaced in Baerwind's late work. This was the period of the "Tantra-Bilder" and a number of paintings in which he analysed his interest in the classical period of Pablo Picasso, who died in 1973.
Awarded the "Grand Prix international de France" in 1972, Rudi Baer was given a large-scale retrospective at the Mannheim Kunsthalle in 1980 on the occasion of his seventieth birthday.
When Rudi Baerwind died in November 1982, he bequeathed an œuvre comprising abstract compositions, portraits, material pictures and concrete reliefs as well as numerous stained-glass windows and murals executed for public buildings, primarily in Germany.