Schomer Lichtner (1905 - 2006)

Birth date: 1905 Death date: 2006  
Birth location: Peoria, Illinois Death location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin  
Media: Drawing , Graphic Art , Mural , Painting Web site:
Comprehensive (file rating) - Major Wisconsin artist file that includes comprehensive documentation on artist's life that can be researched on site at MWA.

Biographical Brief

Frank Schomer Lichtner better known as Schomer Lichtner for his art.
Birth date: March 18, 1905, Peoria, Illinois.
Death date: May 9, 2006 at 101 years old.
2006 Wisconsin Visual Arts Lifetime Achievement Award winner.


Schomer Lichtner
Born March 18, 1905 in Peoria, Illinois
Died May 9, 2006 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Schomer Lichtner first studied with Gustave Moeller at Milwaukee State Teachers College and later at the Milwaukee Art Students’ League and the Art Institute of Chicago.  By 1926, he had entered the New York Art Students’ League.  He returned to Wisconsin in 1928 to study art history at the University of Wisconsin in Madison under Oskar Hagen.

He married fellow-artist Ruth Grotenrath in 1934.  and both became involved in the Federal Works Progress Administration's (WPA) art programs; Treasury Relief Art Project (TRAP) and the Public Works Art Project (PWAP). One of his most notable works was a five-panel mural for the Sheboygan (WI) post office in 1939, The Lake - The Pioneer - Present City - Indian Life - Agriculture.  In 1940 he painted City Workers - Farm Family - Products of Industry & Agriculture at the Hamtramck Branch Post Office, Detroit Michigan and another Hodgen's Mill at the Hodgenville Post Office, Kentucky in 1943.  As a mural painter for public buildings he painted in the Regionalist style, which exemplified the virtues of rural, middle class life.  During this time, he first started to use cows as a major theme.  Lichtner relates that his interest in Holstein cows came from summers spent at Holy Hill in Washington County, Wisconsin. 

Lichtner traveled to Japan with Alan Watts in 1955 reflecting a lifelong interest in Japanese art. In the early 1960s, he began teaching drawing and design, at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. He was also a member of the Wisconsin Painters & Sculptors.

Two hallmark motifs prominent in Lichtner’s later work are cows, which relate to his Wisconsin environment, and ballerinas, which reflected his interest in the ballet.  Both are whimsically patterned in unmodeled but brightly-colored flat forms.  Lichtner’s gentle sense of humor is evident in his later cow works.

Selected Group Exhibitions

1930 Milwaukee Art Center / Milwaukee Art Museum , Wisconsin (1984, 1991)
1930 Opportunity Gallery, New York Art Center, New York
1930 Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, PA, Exhibition of Painting
1932 Kalamazoo Institute of Art, Kalamazoo, Michigan
1932 Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois, Annual American Exhibition
Layton Art Gallery, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (also 1941)
1939 Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., The Forty Eight State Competition
1940 Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois, International Watercolor Exhibition
1941 National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
1942 Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York
1947 Milwaukee Art Institute, Wisconsin
1949 / 51 Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois, Annual Exhibition by Artists of Chicago and & 64 Vicinity
1959 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts, Boston Arts Festival
1972 Stowe Gallery, Davidson, NC, National Print and Drawing Show
1975 Milwaukee Art Center, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Directions
1976 Madison Art Center, Wisconsin
1993 Frank Lloyd Wright Talies in, Spring Green Wisconsin 1925-1980    Milwaukee, Wisconsin, WI Painters &  Sculptors Annual Exhibition

Selected Publications

1964 Drawings Schomer Lichtner
1974 Schomer Lichtner Drawings From The Nude
2011 In The Moment: Schomer Lichtner

Selected Awards

2005 recipient of one of the Wisconsin Visual Art Lifetime Achievement Awards (The Wisconsin Visual Art Hall of Fame)
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