After a fine classical education in the arts a graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico and several years of study at the San Francisco Art Institute, Biss continued with a year of independent study in Europe. He maintained a studio in the countryside of the Netherlands haunting the museums in his spare time. After a month of absorbing as much as possible of the French museums, he traveled south to Greece and settled for six months on the Isle of Corfu where he painted until returning to the United States.
Biss was a descendant of Chief White Man Runs Him, who was contracted by the U.S. government to track the Sioux for General George A. Custer. He was raised by his grandmother on the Crow reservation in Montana. When Biss was 8, he was taken out of school after he came down with rheumatic fever. It was then that his father put him in his first adult painting class.
Earl Biss paintings address the more dramatic aspect of Western American Indian life, offering special insight into the plights and culture of the first Americans. His dynamic works, combining vivid color and motion, often portray the tranquility of the American Indian at home with nature, the excitement of the hunt, or the explosive action and brilliant dress of the war party. Reflections of the French Impressionists, particularly Monet, can be seen in some of his paintings.
A new book on Biss is due out August 2018 by Lisa Gerstner.
Earl Biss, died in October of 1998 at the age of 51. He died painting.