Born in Wilmington, Delaware, Edward Loper learned to paint in the Delaware Division of the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression, and in 1937, was the first African-American artist to exhibit in the Wilmington Society of Fine Arts. The artist found initial commercial success with his own modernist perspective that displayed the influences of Realism, Post-Impressionism, and Cubism. Loper later studied aesthetics at the Barnes Foundation, and his work began to display the influence of Henri Matisse’s (1869–1954) fauvist use of color. His work was featured at international exhibits, and several regional collectors purchased his work. All the while, Loper taught private painting classes that featured his signature rhythmic use of dissonant patterns of color.