Louis Schanker was born in New York in 1903. When he was a teenager, Schanker quit school and joined the circus, and then traveled the country working as a laborer or on ships and trains. By 1920 he returned to New York and studied at Cooper Union, the Educational Alliance, and the Art Students League. In 1930 he traveled to Paris and briefly studied at the Academie de la Grande Cahumiere. Schanker returned to New York by the mid-1930's and worked in the mural division of the Works Progress Administration-Federal Art Project. In 1937 he completed a mural for the radio station WNYC, and in 1939 his mural was displayed at the Science and Health Building at the New York World's Fair. In 1935, Schanker became a member of "The Ten", and in 1937 was a founding member of the American Abstract Artists. He also held a supervisory role in the Graphics Arts Division of the Federal Art project from 1938 to 1941. Louis Schanker died in 1981.