Bio from Askart:Henry Ernest Schnakenberg, painter was born in New Brighton, New York, on September 14th, 1892. He began his career as an insurance salesman. In 1913, he viewed the Armory Show in New York and had his first exposure to modernist art, a life-changing experience for him. Inspired, he enrolled at the Art Students League where his teachers were Kenneth Hayes Miller and John Sloan. During a time when the prevailing trends were away from naturalism, Henry Schnakenberg became one of the most accomplished "naturalistic painters." He was described as an "artist of unusual cultivation, familiar with the great art of the world."
Although he was not one to follow the winds of fashion in art he was equally "far removed from academic conservatism." This independence as an artist and a person helped preserve the integrity of his sincere personal vision. One critic wrote that "His art is not the expression of subjective emotions or a social philosophy, but the work of a man who looks upon the external world primarily for its aesthetic content, its offering of pleasurable places and objects and figures to contemplate and paint. His aim is less to express his own emotions than to create satisfying images of reality as he sees it."
Never one to "settle in a grove" of a specific subject matter, Schnakenberg sought out many aspects of the world that attracted him. His landscapes revealed his genuine love of nature and as far as naturalistic painters were concerned few came close to imparting the depth of feeling displayed in his works. His paintings usually contained a great amount of detail and "a concern with her [nature's] solid realities rather than her evanescent appearances-qualities that link him with the tradition before impressionism."
He was equally concerned with texture and detail that he created by building up layers of paint to "build a completely satisfying composition out of something no more grandiose than a weatherbeaten fencepost covered with scarlet ivy." He also did satirical and social realist views of urban life, often showing caricatures of urban dwellers whose facelessness showed their alienation from society. John Sloan, one of Schnakenberg's teachers, was a master at depicting such scenes and no doubt helped to impart this interest in everyday life subjects to his gifted student as well as to many others working in this genre at the time.
He was a life member of the Art Students' League and served as president of the league in 1932. He was an instructor from 1923 to 1925. He was also a member of the Society of American Painters, Sculptors and Gravers; Society of Independent Artists; National Institute of Arts and Letters.
Schnakenberg won numerous awards during his life including an honorable degree, D.F.A., University of Vermont. He also exhibited nationally. He was a contributor of articles and criticisms to The Arts Magazines, and his work can be found in many important public collections.
Henry Ernest Schnakenberg passed away in 1970.