Bilbo was an author, art dealer, (self-taught) painter, sculptor and gallery-owner, born in Berlin, Germany. In his youth Bilbo was variously a sailor, tramp, stage designer and reporter. A founder member of an anti-fascist group in Berlin in 1930, he was arrested in 1933 but escaped and emigrated to France, then Spain. He reached Britain in 1936 and began painting in 1939. Interned in Onchan camp for six months in 1940, he then served in the Pioneer Corps (invalided out). Afterwards he returned to London establishing his Modern Art Gallery (1941–48), which became an important meeting place for artists including Schwitters, Adler and Herman.
He exhibited modern French artists and fellow artists in exile including Bornfriend, Dachinger and Schwitters, as well as Sven Berlin, Eileen Agar and Ceri Richards. His own work, highly individual, often bizarre, erotic or grotesque, was influenced by Surrealism and was shown in London, Paris and Berlin. He moved to Surrey after the war and created huge, erotic sculptures of female figures in concrete, which he displayed in his garden to the consternation of the public.
In 1949 he returned to France, then to Berlin in 1956, where he opened a bar. A retrospective was held in London (England & Co, 1988).