Howard Schleeter (1903-1976), was the son of a commercial artist, and he studied at the Albright Art School in his hometown of Buffalo, New York. However, his studies at the Albright were limited, and the artist considered himself an autodidact. He quickly chose to work as a full-time artist, and traveled to New Mexico in 1929. The subsequent year, he married and permanently settled in New Mexico.

Schleeter studied under Brooks Willis during the 1930’s and produced artwork in several mediums including gouache, watercolor, oil scratchboard and engraving. The Great Depression affected Schleeter profoundly, he occasionally had to work digging ditches in order to put food on the dinner table. In 1936, he found some financial stability through several commissions he received from the Works Progress Administration (WPA).


Though he worked primarily in abstraction, the five murals he completed for a WPA commission in the Melrose Public School library are realistic depictions of the West. He worked on several more New Deal commissions during the years of 1936 and 1942 in locations including Santa Fe, Clayton, and Washington D.C. During this time, Schleeter furthered his income by teaching at a Las Vegas, New Mexico, art gallery during 1938 and 1939.

In a 1945 entry, the Encyclopedia Brittanica called Schleeter “an artist’s artist”, Schleeter also received local attention when he became one of the first artists acknoledged by Peter Hurd and Jane Mabry for his substantial contributions to New Mexico’s art. Schleeter was a professor at the University of New Mexico in the early 50s.


Selected Exhibitions:
1936-38 Kansas Art Institute, Kansas City, MO

1939 New Mexico State Fair (prize) Albuquerque, NM 

1939 New Mexico Art League (prize)

1941-46 Cedar City, NM 

1945 Philadelphia Artist Alliance, Philadelphia, PA

1946 deYoung Memorial Museum, San Francisco, CA

1947 Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL

1951, 1955 Museum of New Mexico (purchase prize), Santa Fe, NM

1925 Vienna, Austria

1954 Guggenheim Museum, New York City, NY

1955 Karlsruhe Museum, Germany

1955 Solo Exhibition Stanford University, Berkeley, CA

1957 New Mexico Highlands University (purchase prize), NM

1958 Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs, CO