Horace Clifford Westermann was born in Los Angeles in 1922. After service in the Marines during WWII and in Korea, Westermann completed his studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1954. He was given his first solo exhibition in 1958 at Allan Frumkin Gallery, the gallery that went on to represent him for more than twenty years both in Chicago and New York. Westermann has been the subject of five museum retrospective exhibitions, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1968, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York in 1978, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago in 2001, the Fondazione Prada, Milan in 2017 and most recently at the Reina Sofia, Madrid in 2019. Westermann lived and worked in Brookfield Center, Connecticut from 1961 until his death in 1981 at Danbury Hospital, following a heart attack at age 58.