Roger Edward Kuntz was born in San Antonio, Texas, on January 4, 1926. He attended Pomona College in Claremont, California where he obtained his BA degree in 1948.
By about 1950, Kuntz believed that post-war abstract expressionism had run its course and that the time was ripe for the reappearance of structure in art that communicated to the viewer. Kuntz embarked on several painting series, culminating in the nationally acclaimed Freeway Series.
These geometric paintings, dating from 1959 to 1962, centered on urban structures such as concrete canyons, underpasses, ramps, pedestrian spirals, tunnels and signs carved in deep shadow and light; they embodied Kuntzís search for the union of formal abstraction and mundane reality. This stylistic shift away from gestural abstraction was in sync with the times and Kuntz was included in the first national survey of Pop Art organized by Artforum magazine in 1963.
In 1962, Life magazine did a special issue on the state of California; it focused on five artists: Stanton MacDonald Wright, John McLaughlin, Robert Irwin, Billy Al Begston and Roger Kuntz.
From March 8 to May 24, 2009, Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach, California, organized a major retrospective on the work of Roger Kuntz. The exhibition, titled "The Shadow Between Representation and Abstraction", was the first major showing of the artistís work since his death. It focused on Kuntzís search for what he called the "middle ground" between figurative and non-figurative painting and explored his role in the Southern California art scene of the 1950s and 1960s. The museum also published an exhibit catalog of the same name.
After a three-year battle with cancer, Kuntz ended his life in 1975. He was forty-nine.