Jon Schueler (1916-1992) was an American artist and acclaimed member of the New York School who sought to transpose the ineffable energy and mysteries of nature into powerful, poetic abstract compositions. Schueler’s work was particularly catalyzed by the sky, which he saw as a field of energy and which acted for Schueler as a source of both profound feeling and endless enigma. Throughout his artistic career, Schueler remained enthralled by the power of nature and continuously sought to paint its inexpressible essence in what Whitney Museum of American Art director John I. H. Baur described as “swirling arrangements of pure color and light.” Influenced by artist Clyfford Still, Schueler came to view the painted image as a visual representation of the sublime in itself.
Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1916, Schueler received a BA and MA from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Following WWII and his tour in the armed forces, Schueler attended the California School of Fine Arts; from 1948-1951, he was part of the influential artistic group centered around Clyfford Still, Richard Diebenkorn, Hassel Smith and David Park, with all of whom he studied. With Still’s encouragement, Schueler moved to New York in 1951. His work comprised Leo Castelli’s first solo exhibition. In the late 1950s Schueler traveled to Mallaig, Scotland. There, his work became infused with the dynamism of the weather and changing skies—leading to the development of his signature, luminous imagined landscapes. Though New York remained Schueler’s base from 1959 until his death in 1992, he continuously returned to the dramatic skies of Mallaig and acquired a studio overlooking the Sound of Sleat in 1970.
Schueler’s work is included in several notable museums and art institutions such as the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), Addison Gallery of American Art (Andover MA), Cleveland Museum of Art, Baltimore Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Detroit Institute of Arts, and Minneapolis Institute of Arts. International collections include the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Edinburgh) and the National Gallery of Australia (Canberra), among others.