Winold Reiss was born in Karlsruhe, the son of a landscape painter. He studied art in Munich and in 1913 immigrated to the United States. He became famous for his portraits of African Americans, Native Americans, Mexican workers and Zapatista revolutionaries. He moved to New York and in 1924 was commissioned to represent the Harlem Renaissance in a series of illustrations. His work, although not integral part of the Harlem Renaissance, is an example of its wide-ranging impact and of the cultural exchange that characterized it.