Walter H. Snelgrove (1924 -1995) attended the University of Washington and he studied at the California School of Fine Arts with Hassel Smith and Antonio Sotomayer. He relocated permanently to California in 1947 and earned a BA and MA at the University of California at Berkeley. He later was a lecturer in the UC-Berkeley Art Department and began exhibiting his work widely.
Snelgrove‘s career as an artist reached its zenith in the 1950s and 1960s. Snelgrove was part of the Bay Area Figurative movement and was one of twelve artists, along with David Park, Elmer Bischoff and Richard Diebenkorn, who were selected to be in the landmark Contemporary Bay Area Figurative Painting exhibition in 1957 at the Oakland Art Museum The show gave the movement its name and generated critical focus on the artists. It was about this time that John Knudsen (1929-2009) met Snelgrove and began to acquire his works. These range from the mid-1950’s until Snelgrove was forced to gave up painting in the final years of his life due to deteriorating health.