American Abstract Expressionist painter born in Grandin, North Dakota. Graduated in art from Spokane University 1933 and then taught painting, art history and aesthetics at Washington State University in Pullman until 1941. Attempted to free his work from the European tradition, and began in the mid 1930s to paint semi-abstract pictures with residual imagery of figures or landscape. Worked 1941-3 in war industries in California; made few paintings then but these showed further development towards abstraction. Taught from 1943-5 at the Richmond Professional Institute, Richmond, Virginia, then moved to New York and became friendly with the artists developing towards Abstract Expressionism, especially Rothko and Pollock. First New York one-man exhibition at Peggy Guggenheim's Art of This Century 1946. Taught at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco 1946-50. Lived in New York again 1950-61, working in increasing isolation. Declined all public exhibitions from 1952-9, and in 1961 moved to Maryland, to work in tranquillity, away from the art world. Died in Baltimore.
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.709