The artists’ group WIR was founded by three students from the Munich Akademie der Bildenden Künste; the painter Florian Köhler (born 1935) Heino Naujoks (born 1937) and Helmut Rieger (born 1931). In 1961, the painter Reinhold Heller (1933-93) and sculptor Hans Matthäus Bachmayer (born 1940) joined the group.
During its early years, the group was strongly influenced by Baroque art. Works such as Helmut Rieger’s "Höllensturz" (1959) and Reinhold Heller’s "Raub der Töchter des Leukippos I und II" (1962) were influenced by Peter Paul Rubens.
The visual inventions, dynamic, and pictorial space of Baroque were transformed and applied to canvas using Informel’s impulsive and gestural signature, like finely spun net or calligraphy.
In addition, the WIR group embraced the Baroque notion of life-affirmation. In its 1960 manifesto, the group articulated the belief that artworks should take in the spirit of the artist, and pass it on to the beholder.
Pablo Picasso and Max Beckmann also influenced the group’s early works and the group borrowed the idea of "All over" from Abstract Expressionism. This advancement allowed the hierarchical filling of pictorial space, with the artists retaining a fixed anchoring point in the centre of the space, so that the imagery in the paintings appeared to fold out concentrically.
From 1962, primarily influenced by the SPUR group members, HP Zimmer and Helmut Sturm, the WIR group became increasingly informed by the work of CoBrA artists Karel Appel & Asger Jorn, and the notion that figures should be an independent part of pictorial composition.
Like the CoBrA artists, Helmut Rieger und Reinhold Heller also took up elements of naive Art Brut, the style expounded by Jean Dubuffet.
In 1965, WIR was merged with SPUR, creating a new group. One year later, the group was named GEFLECHT.