Jon Schueler was a highly accomplished painter, although he was not as well known as other Abstract Expressionist artists. He was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on 12 September 1916. He completed a BA in economics, then an MA in English literature at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, graduating in 1940. After enlisting in the US Army Air Corps in 1941, he flew as a navigator from English bases from 1942 until 1945. On his return to the United States, Schueler lived in Los Angeles and began to paint, studying formally at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco under Clyfford Still and Richard Diebenkorn from 1947 to 1951. There he also encountered Ad Reinhardt and Mark Rothko as visiting teachers. He moved to New York in 1951 and met many prominent artists of the New York School through Rothko’s studio: Franz Kline, Barnett Newman, Joan Mitchell and Philip Guston were among them.
In the late 1950s Schueler moved to the Scottish village of Mallaig to paint, confirming his love of the wide skies that he encountered in the air force. Returning to the United States, he participated in 25 solo and numerous group exhibitions, and was appointed a visiting artist at Yale University and the Maryland Institute of Fine and Applied Arts. Schueler also taught at the University of Illinois in the late 1960s. He revisited Mallaig occasionally, and stayed there from 1970 to 1975; for the remainder of his life the artist worked for three months a year in Mallaig. Schueler died in New York City on 5 August 1992. His autobiography, The sound of Sleat: A painter's life, was published posthumously in 1999.