L o u i s - S c h a n k e r - - 1 9 0 3 - 1 9 8 1

Born in New York in 1903, Louis Schanker left school as a teenager to join the circus. Two years later he labored on farms, on the Erie Railroad, on a steamship and criss-crossed the country on the railroad as a hobo. Returning to New York in 1920, he began 4 years of part-time studies at Cooper Union, the Education Alliance and the Art Students League. Schanker's first prints were Social Realist style etchings, made as a student. A handful of experimental lithographs printed in 1928 reflect the artist's inclinations to modernism and the work of the School of Paris. He travelled and painted in Europe in 1931.

Schanker became a member of the WPA mural division, and in 1924 began a series of wall panels for Neponist Bay Hospital on Long Island. Other important projects were to follow, including murals for the lobby of the radio station WNYC and at the New York World's Fair in 1939.


In 1935 Schanker was one of the "Ten Whitney Dissenters" and a founding member of the American Abstract Artists group.

In 1935 Schanker made his first woodcut to which he added 7 colors printed from as many blocks. In developing his own style and technique in this unfamiliar medium, he studied German Expressionist and traditional Japanese woodblock prints. By mid-1938 Schanker was employed by the New York City WPA/FAP graphic arts division. When the workshop moved, he took over as supervisor of color block printing and he remained in the division until 1941. He also began teaching printmaking courses at the New School for Social Research. The artist organized studio 74 at the New School, his own experimental workshop, modeled after Atelier 17.

Untitled Abstraction - - c.1940, Oil on canvas board

Signed in yellow pencil, verso.

Image size 19 3/4 x 23 3/4 inches (502 x 604 mm).

A fine, abstract expressionist work, on canvas board, in excellent condition. Unframed.