Biography: Earl Kerkam worked as a commercial artist and studied at the Rand School and the Art Students League in New York, before traveling to Paris for further study. He ran the American Art Gallery there and exhibited work with the Fauves. He returned to the United States in the 1930s and worked as art editor for Progress magazine. He also was employed by the Works Progress Administration in the Easel Division. During World War II he designed posters.
Kerkam was committed to a modern, expressionist aesthetic inspired by the work of Paul Cézanne and the Cubists, and he maintained recognizable subject matter (often self-portraits). He was highly respected by the abstract expressionist painters who encouraged the Museum of Modern Art to organize a memorial exhibition. His paintings were exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Corcoran Gallery, and the Art Institute of Chicago. He taught briefly at the New York Studio School before his death in 1965.