Born in Holstein, Germany, in 1888, John von Wicht traced his interest in art to the age of 10 when he first began sketching. He sold his first drawing at age 15 and his first oil at 19.
He received his early training at the Private Art School of the Grand Duke of Hesse in Darmstadt and continued his studies at the Berlin School of Applied and Fine Arts. Awarded many scholarships during his student days, von Wicht was able to travel extensively through Scotland and England, where he executed numerous lithographs.
Before arriving in the United States in 1923, he had numerous one-man exhibitions in Scotland, Sweden, Germany, France, and England.
Upon his arrival here, von Wicht and his wife settled in Brooklyn Heights, which was home to a thriving art community. He began working for the U.S. Printing and Lithograph Company, in whose employ he remained until 1925. He then moved on to mosaics and mural work, executing many commissions in the United States and Canada for Ravenna Mosaics.
Edward Alden Jewell, writing in The New York Times in the early 1940s, declared von Wicht a leading exponent of abstract painting. Underlying all of the artist's work is a controlled structure and equilibrium. There is constant concern for both positive and negative space, and an intense interest in color and its effects on the senses, traits learned at Darmstadt.
John von Wicht, who received numerous awards during his lifetime, also published many works about 20th-century art. His art has been shown in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and many others. He is included in the permanent collections of at least a dozen major museums worldwide.