Abraham Walkowitz, was a Russian born, turn-of-the century immigrant to the United States, who grew up in New York's lower East Side. He first studied art at the Educational Alliance, the Cooper Union, and the National Academy of Design. In 1906, he traveled to Europe where he studied at the Academie Julian in Paris. Upon his return to the United States in 1907, he became a fully-fledged convert to Modernism, and his first exhibit at the Haas Gallery in that year, brought him a measure of notoriety as well as the attention of Stieglitz and other pioneers of Non-Objective art.
In years following, Walkowitz became one of the most exhibited painters shown at the 291 Gallery, a fact which was also reflected in the pages of Stieglitz' polemical journal of Modernism, Camera Work. As a result of this early attention, by the time of the Armory Show of 1913, to which Walkowitz contributed many paintings, his work was widely known to both fellow Modernists as well as their opponents. Walkowitz was clearly part of the new vocabulary of American art and criticism.
During the 1920s and 1930s, as American Realism gained in favor, Walkowitz continued his experiments with form and line, especially in his series of Duncan studies. During the Depression, Walkowitz was politically active on behalf of the unemployed artists supporting various New Deal initiatives in the Arts. In 1946, Walkowtiz turned to the preparation of a series of volumes of his drawings, designed to illustrate the development of Modernism in the Twentieth Century, and in doing so, established his role as a pioneer American Modernist. Walkowitz was an outspoken proponent of the continuos experimentation in the arts, which was his definition of Modernism. As an artist, he embodied the changing role of the Modernist painter in the United States, as Modernism moved from avant-garde protest to become an accepted style and tradition.