American painter and lithographer, John Wesley Carroll was born in 1892 on a train near Wichita, Kansas, as his family was traveling from West Virginia to California. He studied engineering at the University of California but left to study art under Frank Duveneck in Cincinnati.
Carroll served in the American Navy during World War I and after the end of the war, he settled in Woodstock, New York. Woodstock was quickly becoming one of the leading art centers in America and Carroll played a leading role there. He had his first one-man show in 1922 and three years later he won the Purchase Prize at the Pennsylvania Academy.
Carroll studied in Europe for one year and, upon his return, he taught at the Art Students League of New York and was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship. He was appointed Head of the Department of Painting of the Society of Arts and Crafts in Detroit.
During the 1920s and 1930s, Carroll became famous for his outspoken opposition to the American Regionalist paintings and lithographs of Thomas Hart Benton, Grant Wood and others.