An important European-trained western painter, illustrator, and teacher, Richard Lorenz began the study of art in Weimar, Germany, at age 15. He was the pupil of Heinrich Albert Brendel, Max Thedy, and Theodor Hagen from 1874 to 1886, winning the Carl Alexander prize in 1884 and exhibiting in Berlin and Munich. Lorenz immigrated to Milwaukee in 1886. He worked with William Wehner painting panoramas, specializing in horses.
In 1887, Lorenz left Milwaukee to travel in the West. It is said that he became a Texas Ranger during the “lawless” days of the frontier, gaining an understanding of cowpunchers and “bad men.” Lorenz returned to Milwaukee about 1890, teaching at the School of Art and painting western scenes from his sketches. Frank Tenney Johnson, Lorenz’s most famous pupil, credited Lorenz with influencing him to paint western subjects. A retrospective of Lorenz’s work was held at the Milwaukee Art Center in 1966. It included 103 works, more than half of them western in theme.