Richard Floethe was born in Essen, Germany on September 2, 1901. He studied art at various schoolsin Germany, including the Munich State School, the Dortmund Art School, and the Bauhaus in Weimar. After completing a mural for the International Exposition in Cologne, Germany he immigrated to the United States in 1928. Once in America he worked as an industrial designer, book illustrator, and from 1936-1939, as the art director of the New York City poster division of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) art projects. Floethe later taught at The Cooper Union in New York City and at the Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, Florida.