Max Kaus painter and print maker, was born in Berlin in 1891. He attended the School for Crafts and the Applied and Decorative Arts in Berlin-Charlottenburg. In 1913 he moved into his first studio, and a travel grant brought him to Paris in 1914. At the onset of World War I, however, he was forced to return home, where he volunteered as an ambulance driver and medical orderly in 1916; fortuitously, it was this volunteering that brought him in contact with several inspirational artists, including Erich Heckel, Anton Kerschbaumer, and Otto Herbig. It was at this time he began to focus on printmaking, namely lithography and woodcuts. After the war he supported himself by accepting commissions for decorative painting.
Kaus’s first one-man show was at the Ferdinand Möller Gallery in 1919; after meeting Otto Mueller and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff at the “Free Secession” in 1920, he became a part of several artist’s groups who furthered study of Expressionism in Berlin, but by the end of the 1920s he returned to the more classical roots of his youth and took a position as a teacher at the Master School for the Applied and Decorative Arts, teaching landscape painting and figurative drawing. In 1927 he was awarded the Albrecht Dürer Prize by the city of Nuremburg.
During the 1930’s, Kaus traveled throughout Europe to study, and took a position a an art teacher the United States School in Berlin, but was increasingly exposed to persecution by the National Socialists. In 1937 his works were removed from museums and in 1938 he was forced to give up teaching until after the end of the war
In 1949 saw his promotion to full professor—and, eventually, Deputy Director— at the Hochschule für bildende Künste in Berlin. He continued to teach and create art well into his late life; he died in Berlin in 1977.