Biography: Born in Philadelphia and raised in Newport, Rhode Island, Biesel and his wife Frances Strain (1898–1962) are best known as Chicago modernists.
Biesel was the son of marine artist Charles Biesel, and he studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, graduating in 1915, before moving to New York to study with Robert Henri. After serving in the Naval Reserve during World War I, Biesel relocated to Chicago where he completed his training at the Art Institute, working with George Bellows and Randall Davey.
In 1920 Biesel and Strain traveled to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where they met John Sloan. They returned to New York, staying with Sloan and his wife Dolly at 88 Washington Place in Greenwich Village and returning to Santa Fe with the Sloans the following summer. Though Biesel and Strain settled in Chicago by 1922, they would spend most of their summers in Santa Fe throughout the 1920s.
Biesel and Strain imported Henri’s ideas about art exhibitions to Chicago, forming the Chicago No-Jury Society of Artists. Biesel exhibited at the Art Institute, the Chicago Society of Artists, and the Society of Independent Artists in New York.