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In the Moment
The Life and Art of Schomer Lichtner
Susan J. Montgomery

“[Lichtner’s art] exploded into expressionistic design elements with bold, flat areas of color and high energy that anticipated Pop Art.”
—James Auer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

In the Moment
is a visual account of the life and art of Schomer Lichtner (1905–2006), a much-celebrated artist working in the American Midwest. Susan Montgomery draws on archival materials and interviews with Lichtner and others to trace the development of his long and productive career, which began in the first decade of the twentieth century and continued until his death at the age of 101. The 350 images in this book span more than seventy-five years of artwork, including paintings, sculptures, theatrical sets, greeting cards, and drawings.

As early as 1930, Lichtner’s work was shown at the prestigious Carnegie International Exhibition in New York and at museums throughout the United States, especially in the Midwest. During the Depression years, Lichtner and his wife, Ruth Grotenrath, were employed by the Treasury Relief Art Project, a program of the federal government’s Works Projects Administration (WPA), for which they created impressive murals in the American Regionalist style for post offices and other government buildings throughout the Midwest. Lichtner and Grotenrath made their home in Milwaukee, where they were active and much beloved members of the arts community. Lichtner’s mid-career and late work focused on recurring themes of abstract rural landscapes, whimsical cows, and elegant women, including graceful nudes and leaping ballerinas.

Lichtner’s work was profoundly influenced by his appreciation of Frank Lloyd Wright (whom he knew personally), Zen Buddhism, and Japanese art. His unique approach, beautifully depicted in this book, was joyous, free flowing, colorful, imaginative, and marked by strong design and pattern.

Susan Montgomery is a writer and book producer living in Milwaukee. She is cocreator, with Todd Montgomery, of What Really Matters Now  and Moments That Matter, inspirational books of photography. She is also the author of a book on Ruth Grotenrath, In Celebration, distributed by the UW Press

Distributed for the Museum of Wisconsin Art

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April 2011
216 pp.   9 x 12   350 illus.

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Paper $29.95 t
ISBN 978-0-9786019-2-8
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