DIED: March 19, 1968 Minneapolis, MN
Walter Wellington Quirt was born in the small mining town of Iron River, Michigan. Far removed from civilization, Iron River was a bleak place and unkind to Quirt. His family had little money and limited contact with the life of culture or art, yet Quirt managed to find a creative straek within himself and began drawing well before he had entered his teens.
In 1921, Quirt left Iron River to attend the Layton School of Art in Milwaukee. His success at Layton led to part-time teaching as a drawing instructor. By 1926, Quirt was teaching beginning classes and outdoor sketching. While at the Layton, Quirt produced his earliest watercolors and paintings which were exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1926 and in the International Watercolor exhibitions of 1929.
During this time, Quirt also studied at the McDowell Colony in New Hampshire. His formal training ended, allowing him the freedom to experiment stylistically.
Quirt left Milwaukee for New York City in 1929. His arrival in the city coincided with the onset of the Great Depression, so he also worked for the Works Project Administration painting murals in the mid-1930s. Soon thereafter, he was involved in the radical causes that would influence his work throughout the 1930s. Within a year, leftwing periodicals were publishing his socially and p