A longtime resident of Water Mill, Warren Brandt came of age as an artist in the late 1930s, graduating from Pratt Institute; he served as a portraitist for the U.S. Army during World War II. Complementary studies with Philip Guston and Max Beckmann at Washington University in St. Louis contributed decisively to Brandt's development of a primarily figurative art characterized by brilliant, freely-applied color. He later studied with the Japanese-American painter Yasuo Kuniyoshi at the Art Students League. Brandt exemplifies a generation that maintained close ties to the founding members of the New York School while seeking a newly figurative idiom, one based as much on the "decorative" color aesthetic of Henri Matisse as on the expressionistic brushwork of Willem de Kooning. In 1960, Brandt married the painter and prominent art dealer Grace Borgenicht, with whom he enjoyed the frequent company of a lively artistic circle that migrated annually from Manhattan to the East End for creative rejuvenation.