Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Jason Schoener came from a family of distinguished American artists. He was the nephew of sculptor/painter William Zorach and his wife, painter Marguerite Zorach. Beginning in 1939, Schoener spent his summers at the Zorach family farm in Georgetown, Maine, where he studied art with his Uncle William. Jason’s cousin, artist Dahlov Ipcar (the Zorachs’ daughter), was also part of those summer art sessions.
In 1941 Schoener graduated from the Cleveland Institute School of Art and spent a year at the School of Architecture at Western Reserve University also in Cleveland, Ohio. He enrolled in the U.S. Naval Reserve at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and was commissioned as an ensign in 1944, serving at the Eniwetok Atoll in the Pacific. After the war, Schoener began his teaching career at Munson Williams Proctor Institute School of Arts in Utica, New York while also earning a Master’s degree from Columbia University in New York City.
In 1946 Schoener purchased the historic Washington Heal house, built in 1798, and located near his uncle’s farm in Georgetown. In 1951 he married Virginia Worley, and they moved to San Francisco, California, where Schoener served as an instructor, department chairman, and dean at California College of Arts and Crafts.
Meanwhile, Schoener continued to use his Georgetown home as a summer studio, while also finding time to travel to Europe and Latin America. Scenes he observed in Scotland, Greece and Latin America, in particular, found their way into many of his oil paintings. Other favorite subject matter included floral still life, naval operations scenes, and land and seascapes from around Georgetown. Throughout his career, he worked in both oils and watercolor. Schoener’s other teaching assignments included Mills College in Oakland, California, and the Athens Technological Institute in Greece.
Over the span of almost two decades, Schoener had several solo exhibitions at the Midtown Gallery on East 57th Street in New York City. In September of 1993, he exhibited at the Boyden Gallery at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. In 1994, he donated twenty one of his paintings done during the war to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. Schoener and his wife were in California at the time of his death.
1. “The Georgetown Historical Society: http://www.georgetownhistoricalsociety.org/Schoener%20Exhibit.html
2. “Art Patronage in Greece,” Jason Schoener, 1966, College Art Association Journal.
3. “Susie Westly Wren, artist and owner of West Island Gallery
Information provided by Robert Burns, researcher and collector