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Walter Quirt (1902 - 1968)
Walter Quirt was born in Iron River, Michigan in 1902. After high school, Quirt moved to Wisconsin and studied at the Layton School of Art from 1921 until 1923. He continued his artistic studies at the McDowell Colony in New Hampshire in 1928. He moved to New York City and became one of the most vital and active figures of the New York avant-garde art world of the 1930s. He worked for the Works Project Administration painting murals in the mid-1930s. He later moved to Minneapolis and taught art at the University of Minnesota from 1956 to 1968 and lived the rest of his life in Minneapolis.
Early in his career, Quirt painted the social problems of his time in a realistic style. He also involved himself in left-wing causes by illustrating political magazines, such as The Masses, and by joining radical artist groups. Quirt was a member of the John Reed Club.
After working with socialist themes for many years, Quirt became one of the first American artists to experiment with Surrealism. He had a retrospective exhibition of his work in 1960 through the American Federation of Arts, and he showed during his career at the Art Institute of Chicago, Whitney Museum of American Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, and the Detroit Institute of Arts.
Quirt died March 19, 1968 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.