Known for his blend of realism and abstraction, James Penney was born in St. Joseph, Missouri in 1910. Penney studied art at the University of Kansas before moving to New York City to continue his education at the Arts Students League. Throughout the 1930s, the artist received numerous mural commissions and later became the vice president of the Art Students League. By 1945, Penney had begun a career as an educator and went on to teach at Bennington College, Vassar College, and the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, and was a professor of art at Hamilton College for over twenty years. The artist employs a rich, warm palette to depict natural scenes and urban environments. His work can be found in the collections of the National Gallery of Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.