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 Howard Behling Schleeter  (1903 - 1976)

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Lived/Active: New Mexico      Known for: mod western imagery, graphics

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Ad Code: 3
Howard Behling Schleeter
from Auction House Records.
"Spur Line (Las Vegas, New Mexico)," 1938
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from David Cook Galleries:
Howard Schleeter, the son of a commercial artist, studied formally at the Albright Art School in his hometown of Buffalo, New York.  However, his studies at Albright were brief, and the artist considered himself to be primarily self-taught.  He later met Charles Lindbergh while working as an airplane mechanic.  However, he soon chose to make his living entirely as an artist, and in 1929, he traveled to New Mexico.  The following year he married, and the couple made New Mexico their permanent home.

Schleeter studied under Brooks Willis during the 1930’s and worked in several mediums including gouache, watercolor, oil, scratchboard and engraving.  The Great Depression took its toll on Schleeter who occasionally found work digging ditches to make ends meet.

In 1936, his financial status greatly improved when he received the first of several commissions from the Works Progress Administration (WPA).  Though he worked primarily in abstraction, the five murals he completed for a WPA commission in the Melrose Public School library are realistic depictions of the West.  He worked on several more New Deal commissions during the years of 1936 and 1942 in locations including Santa Fe, Clayton, and Washington D.C.  During this time, Schleeter furthered his income by teaching at a Las Vegas, New Mexico, art gallery during 1938 and 1939.

In 1945, the Encyclopedia Brittanica referred to Schleeter as “an artist’s artist.”  He also received local attention when he became one of the first artists chosen by Peter Hurd and Jane Mabry for his significant contributions to New Mexico’s art.  Schleeter taught at the University of New Mexico during 1950-1951 and 1954.

Member: Art League of New Mexico

Exhibited: Kansas Art Institute, 1936-1938; New Mexico State Fair, 1939 (prize); New Mexico Art League, 1939 (prize); Cedar City, New Mexico, 1941-1946; Philadelphia Artist Alliance, 1945 (solo); deYoung Memorial Museum, 1946; Art Institute of Chicago, 1947; Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe, 1951 (purchase prize), 1955 (purchase prize); Vienna, Austria, 1952; Guggenheim Museum, 1954; Karlsruhe Museum, Germany, 1955; Stanford University, 1955 (solo); New Mexico Highlands University, 1957 (purchase prize); Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, 1958; Swope Art Gallery Works Held: A&M College, New Mexico (mural); Art League of New Mexico; Cedar City Institute of Religion; Encyclopaedia Britannica; Miners Hospital, Raton, New Mexico (mural); Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe; Research Studio, Maitland, Florida; University of New Mexico

Further Reading: Artists of 20th-Century New Mexico: the Museum of Fine Arts Collection, Museum of New Mexico Press for the Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, 1992.

The Illustrated Biographical Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West, Peggy and Harold Samuels, Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York, 1976.

Taos and Santa Fe: the Artist’s Environment, 1882-1942, Van Deren Coke, University of New Mexico Press for the Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, TX and the Art Gallery, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM: 1963

Treasures on New Mexico Trails: Discover New Deal Art and Architecture: Kathryn A. Flynn ed., Sunstone Press, Santa Fe, NM: 1995

Who Was Who in American Art 1564-1975: 400 Years of Artists in America, Vol. 1. Peter Hastings Falk, Georgia Kuchen and Veronica Roessler, eds.,Sound View Press, Madison, Connecticut, 1999. 3 Vols.

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