Palmer Schoppe was born in 1912 on a farm near Salt Lake City, Utah. He moved with his family to Santa Monica, California at the age of eight. He studied at the University of California in Los Angeles and at the Yale School of Fine Arts where he met famed painter, printmaker and muralist Jean Charlot, who convinced Schoppe to study at the Art Students League in New York City. There he studied under Thomas Hart Benton who inspired him to travel to the Southern United States. Following Benton’s figurative style, Schoppe produced lithographs and watercolors of blacks working the fields and jazz musicians.
In 1934 Schoppe returned to California where he created a series of lithographs for the “Carolina Low Country Portfolio” in the studio of Lynton Kistler. Schoppe taught at the Chouinard Art Institute, Walt Disney Studios, the Art Center College of Design, the U.S. Signal Corps and U.C.L.A. During his 22-year tenure at U.C.L.A., Schoppe took a one-year sabbatical leave in 1964 and traveled through Europe with his family, spending the last few months in San Antonio, Texas before his return to California.