After graduating from secondary school, Bauer completed an apprenticeship in color lithography in 1951. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts until 1959. After a two-year stint as a graphic designer with Volkswagen in Wolfsburg, Bauer continued his studies in art with Fritz Winter in Kassel, and became his star pupil. From 1963 on, Bauer worked in Stuttgart as an artist, in painting, graphic art and photography. He traveled extensively in Italy, France and Greece.
In 1973, Bauer moves away from abstraction in his art and towards the motif of dream worlds between cosmos and landscape. By integrating landscape elements, especially the ‘island’ motif, Bauer repeatedly makes connections to the concrete world. Cliff-like shapes, reminiscent of a microcosm, become symbolic of the beauty of landscape and a figurative image of earthly things in the universe.