Howard Schleeter, Western Artist
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Howard Schleeter is known as a modernist painter, but his modernist paintings were not received well in New Mexico in the 1930s. He was ahead of his time. After all, the early Taos and Santa Fe artists were producing traditional landscapes and Indian themed paintings and that is where the attention was focused, not on abstract art. Schleeter was professionally qualified to paint in the style of the Taos and Santa Fe artists.
When Howard Behling Schleeter (1903-1976) made the decision to make his living entirely as an artist in 1929, he traveled to New Mexico. The following year he married, and the couple made New Mexico their permanent home. 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).
In 1945, the Encyclopedia Britannica 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. He had lived in Albuquerque from 1930 to 1970, with brief periods of living in Santa Fe (1958-1968) and Placitas (1970-1976).
*The Works Progress Administration (WPA; renamed in 1939 as the Works Projects Administration) was an American New Deal agency, employing millions of job-seekers (mostly unskilled men) to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads. It was established on May 6, 1935, by Executive Order 7034.
At its peak in 1938, it provided paid jobs for three million unemployed men and women, as well as youth in a separate division, the National Youth Administration. Between 1935 and 1943, when the agency was disbanded, the WPA employed 8.5 million people. Most people who needed a job were eligible for employment in some capacity. Hourly wages were typically set to the prevailing wages in each area. Full employment, which was reached in 1942 and emerged as a long-term national goal around 1944, was not the goal of the WPA; rather, it tried to provide one paid job for all families in which the breadwinner suffered long-term unemployment. - Wikipedia
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