Karl Schrag was an artist all his life, drawing and painting in earnest from the age of four. He trained in Geneva and Paris, came to New York in 1938 as a young man in his twenties and after studying printmaking at the Art Students League joined the prestigious Atelier 17 in Greenwich Village. There he was a leading light among the group of artists who changed the direction of intaglio printmaking in America and within ten years of joining he was appointed director of the Atelier. He later taught briefly at Brooklyn College and for 14 years at the Cooper Union School of Art.
Karl Schrag began exhibiting almost immediately upon arrival in the United States, first in the Society of American Etchers Annual followed by the first of many invitations to participate in annual exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art. He has exhibited widely both in the United States and Europe and his work is included in the permanent collections of over 70 significant museums and institutions in France, Germany, England and throughout the United States. In 1992, three years before his death, he was given a major retrospective at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine.