David H. Becker Biography

David H. Becker




David H. Becker, painter, printmaker and educator, was born on 16 August 1937 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He studied at the Milwaukee State Teachers College, the Layton School of Art between 1956 and 1958, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he enrolled in the science curriculum. After a chance meeting with Warrington Colescott, department chair of the art department, Becker decided on a career in art and received his BFA degree in 1961. After graduation he served for two years in the US Army and then entered a graduate studies program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and earned his MFA in 1965.

Becker moved to Detroit after receiving his degree and joined the faculty at Wayne State University where he taught life drawing. In 1985 he left Detroit to join the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and he retired from teaching in 2006.

His first solo exhibition was mounted in 1968. About 1970 Becker gave up painting as he could not paint and create prints during the same period of time and was pulled toward printmaking. He stated that he enjoys “putting images together in an unpredictable fashion.” Becker worked slowly and an etching plate could take up to two years to complete and he ultimately only produced thirteen prints. His etchings were included in the Twenty-fourth National Exhibition of Prints at the Library of Congress in 1975; the Third American Biennial of Graphic Arts at the Museo de Arte Moderno in Cali, Columbia in 1976, winning the gold medal; and Brooklyn Museum National Print Exhibition. His work was included in the Ninth British International Print Biennale in Bradford, England in 1986;  the 162nd and 165th Annual at the National Academy of Design in 1987 and 1990.

Becker was elected an Associate of the National Academy of Design in 1983 and elevated to full Academician in 1991. He received a Visual Artists Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts which helped him transition back into painting. He also received the University of Wisconsin Chancellor’s Faculty Development Award in the Creative Arts in 1996 and 1999.  He is a member of and exhibited with the Boston Printmakers, Society of American Graphic Artists, and the Philadelphia Print Club.

David H. Becker is represented in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum, and the Smithsonian Museum of American Art.