Biography: Born in the Bronx, Schanker studied at the Cooper Union and worked odd jobs in New York before joining the circus as an animal handler and traveling across the United States. He made his way back east, working on trains, and enrolled at the Educational Alliance in New York. He traveled to Europe in the early 1930s and was captivated by Cezanne and post-impressionist painting. He returned to the States, worked for the WPA (woodcut division), and painted murals. By 1939 he had developed his abstract approach. In 1949 he began teaching at Bard College.