Gerard Schneider was born on April 28th 1896 in Saint-Croix, Switzerland. At a young age, in Neuchatel, he followed his father as he worked as a cabinetmaker and antique collector. In 1910 Schneider enrolled in a painting course dedicated to decorations and given by the reknowned Alfred Blailé. In 1916 he was accepted at the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs of Paris where his professor, Paul Renouard, took notice of his work. In 1918 he entered the studio of Cormon Academy of Fine Arts. During this time, he frequented the Museum of Luxembourg and the National Museum of Modern Art. In 1920 he returned to Neuchatel, where the Amis des Arts organized an exhibit at the Municipal Gallery Léopold Robert. He moved to Paris in 1922 where Schneider studied the principles movements of art at the time. In 1926 he opened his first full exhibit at the Salon d'Automne.
In 1936, he installed five pieces at the Salon des Surindépendants, which was reviewed in the "La Revue Moderne." In 1937 he entered his surrealist period with pieces based off of nature. His palette included a lot of black, which took on a new importance in his work. He wrote a few poems and he showed three works at the Salon des Surindépendants. In 1938 his paintings' titles were no longer inspired by reality. Three of his works at the Salon des Surindépendants were entitled "composition." In September 1939, at World War II' s outset, he had a propensity towards all things dealing with France. He moved and stayed in Paris where he befriended Picasso.
In 1945 the Musée National d'Art Moderne acquired one of his 1944 works named "Composition." He designed all of his paintings around the theme and title "Opus." In 1946 he participated in the "Peinture Abstraites" (abstract painting) exhibit at the Denise René Gallery along with Dewasne, Deyrolle, Hartung and Marie Raymond. He installed five pieces in the abstract art exhibit, begun by Cesar Domela, in the center of the rue Cujas, in Paris. He began work on the inaugural Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, which celebrated abstract art.
In 1947 he realized his first exhibition at the Lydia Conti. There, from April 25th-May 17th he installed three pieces entitled "Opus 316." In December he worked with gouaches (watercolors) while in Gordes. In 1948 he received french citizenship and was invited to present at the prestigious Biennial of Venice. From then on he participated in many international exhibitions in particular, “Franzosische Abstrakte malerei”, which was presented in Stoccarda, Monaco, Dusseldorf, Hannover, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Wuppertal, Germany. In 1949 he participated in “Painted in 1949, European and American Painters” at Betty Parsons' in New York. He became a member of the Salon de Mai, which lasted until 1956.
In 1960 he met and befriended Bruno Lorenzelli with who he signed an exclusive contract until 1975. During this time he enjoyed much success in Japan. In 1965, in collaboration with Galleria Lorenzelli, he presented an exhibit at the Galerie Arnaud in Paris. In 1966 he took part in the French Pavilion at Venice's Biennial. This was a new period characterized by his use of eclectic colors, large and simple brush strokes.
Gerard Schneider died in Paris on July 8th, 1986. That fall, the Lorenzelli Arte Gallery in Milano dedicated a special exhibition in his honor, which featured 230 works from 1936 to 1970.