Warren Brandt was born in Greensboro, North Carolina in 1918, and came of age as an artist in the late 1930’s after graduating from Pratt Institute in New York. While there, Brandt studied with Yasuo Kuniyoshi at the Art Students League. Shortly thereafter, Brandt joined the US Army as a portraitist during World War II. After spending 5 years in the military, he continued his education at Washington University in St. Louis under the GI Bill, where he studied with Philip Guston and Max Beckmann. Brandt’s work with these artists contributed to his development of a figurative art that was characterized by his use of brilliant, freely-applied color.
As the New York School emerged in Manhattan during the late 1940s, Brandt traveled between teaching jobs in New York City and his native South Carolina, while pursuing his MFA at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. After the successful completion of his MFA, Brandt was named chairman of the Art Department of the University of Mississippi from 1957-1959, taught at Southern Illinois University from 1959-1961, and taught at the School of Visual Art in New York City from 1962-1963. He later became the director of the New York Studio School in 1967.