Milton Resnick was born in 1917 in Bratslav, Rodolia, Ukraine. When he was just five years old, his family emigrated to the United States, landing on Ellis Island and settling in Brooklyn, New York. At the age of fourteen, Resnick enrolled in the commercial art program at the Pratt Institute Evening School of Art in Brooklyn. He was eventually advised by his teacher to transfer to a fine arts program. In 1933 he transferred to the American Artists’ School in New York, where one of his classmates was Ad Reinhardt.
In 1934 Resnick began working as an elevator operator to support his studies at the American Artists’ School, where he was given a small room to paint, using materials left by night school students. Resnick moved into a studio on West 21st Street, near Willem de Kooning in 1938.
At the outbreak of World War II, Resnick was drafted into the Army and served in Iceland and Europe. After the war he lived, for three years, in Paris, where he met Constantin Brancusi and Alberto Giacometti, among others. He returned to New York in 1948 and with his remaining G.I. benefits, he enrolled in abstract expressionist painter, Hans Hofman’s school.
During the 1950s and 60s, Resnick gained recognition as an abstract artist, becoming one of the first New York artists to have a very large working space. In 1976 Resnick purchased an abandoned synagogue on New York’s Lower East Side, where he has most recently worked.