German-born Konrad Cramer (1888–1963) trained for three years at the prestigious Karlsruhe Academy, where he received rigorous training. His classically-based education was tempered and his style much influenced by avant-garde art he saw at galleries in Munich, where works by painters including Vassily Kandinsky (1866–1944), Franz Marc (1880–1916), and other members of the Blaue Reiter group were shown.
After immigrating, Cramer and his wife, painter Florence Ballin (1884–1962), lived for several years in New York City. Here he joined in with the American modernists and produced non-objective paintings. Never an artist to limit himself to a single medium, Cramer early on learned a wide variety of techniques and his mature style includes painting, drawing, collage, lithography and photography, two or more media often used in a single work.
In the early 1920s Cramer and Ballin, settled in the Catskill artists’ colony of Woodstock where Cramer was a one of several artists, including Andrew Dasburg (1887–1979) and Henry Lee McFee (1886–1953), whose paintings incorporate modernist and cubist techniques. Taking advantage of frequent studio gatherings where artists could work from the live model, Cramer continued to draw the figure throughout his career. Cramer employs airbrush, a technique very much of the fifties, to shade, accent and decorate his lyrical figures.