American, 1952 - 2006
Monte Schatz was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1952. At age 16 he left Wisconsin and moved to San Francisco to study art full time and was admitted to the San Francisco Art Institute. While at the Art Institute, he studied pre-Columbian art at the University of California, Berkeley, and apprenticed under Dennis Beall, an etcher, through a program arranged by Kathan Brown at the prestigious Crown Point Press. Three years into the four-year program, Schatz won a special honorarium from the Art Institute and was graduated a year early with a BFA degree. He was 19 years old at the time.
Schatz then moved to New York City in 1971 and was admitted into the MFA program at Columbia University, where he studied painting, art history, music theory, film history, and printmaking. He received his MFA degree in 1975 and subsequently worked as a studio assistant for a number of prominent artists, most notably Dorothea Rockburne. He served as a substitute art history teacher for Bruce Boice at the School for Visual Arts for 2 years.
Longing for a return to nature, Schatz sold his SoHo loft in 1980 and moved to Spencertown, New York, a beautiful rural area 130 miles north of New York City. He built a house and studio and showed his work throughout the Northeast, selling work to various collectors.
In 1992 Schatz recognized a very strong aesthetic relationship between his paintings and snakes. He began to collect numerous exotic snake specimens to inform the development of his artwork. Photography also became an important extension of his paintings, but he became allergic to darkroom chemicals and ceased photography in 1991.
In 1998, Schatz left New York State and moved to New Mexico for 6 months. While visiting West Texas, Schatz felt a mysterious attraction for the landscape of the Big Bend, and he moved to Marathon, Texas, in July 1998.