Born in Germany, Skolle studied at the KunstAkademie in Leipzig. He traveled to New York City in 1923 and he began to study at the Art Students League. After traveling through Europe and befriending Picasso and Hilaire Hiler among others, Skolle moved west in 1939 and had encounters with the architect Frank Lloyd Wright. In the 1950s, he traveled the Sahara and befriended Hollywood actor Peter Lawford and the two would share many adventures together throughout their lives. John Skolle's paintings were exhibited and collected by many American museums including: Museum of New Mexico in Santa Fe, Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery, the Carnegie Institute among others and many private collections throughout the world.