Born in Vienna, Raoul Hausmann moved to Berlin with his parents at the age of fourteen. He received his first training in painting from his father. As a young man, Raoul Hausmann was interested in the goals of the emerging Expressionist movement in Germany and was a committed staff member of the magazine "Der Sturm". Apart from painting, Raoul Hausmann was very interested in philosophy and literature and published several articles and poems in cultural magazines.
From 1913 he was in contact with writers working for the magazine "Die Aktion" and others. Until he encountered Dadaist thinking and ideas in 1917, to which he was introduced by contemporary literature such as the magazine "Cabaret Voltaire" on the one hand and by physician and writer Richard Huelsenbeck on the other hand, Hausmann was a convinced follower of Expressionism. From 1918 the first Dada soirées, in which Hausmann, Huelsenbeck, Heartfield and Grosz participated, took place. That year also saw the foundation of the "Club Dada" and the publication of the first "Dadaist Manifesto".
Raoul Hausmann developed a photomontage process and printed his first "poster poems" and phonetic poems. In 1919 he became editor of the journal "Der Dada". By 1920 the end of the Dada-movement was imminent. In 1926 Raoul Hausmann began writing his novel "Hyle". Alongside, he conducted electro-acoustic and optical analyses with the Optophon, a device patented in London in 1935, which was meant to make sound and light waves correspond.
In 1930 Hausmann began working systematically with photography, a field he developed further when he emigrated to Ibiza in 1933. For a prolonged period of time, these documentary photos and phototechnical experiments were the only activity Raoul Hausmann could follow relatively unrestricted.
As a banned artist, Hausmann was always on the run until 1944. From Spain he went to Zurich in 1936 and then on to Prague in 1937. A year later he went to Paris and then via Peyrat-le-Château to Limoges, where he finally settled.
Raoul Hausmann lived there in isolation until his death in 1971.