Lawrence Mazzanovich was born aboard a ship as his mother and father immigrated to the United States from Eastern Europe. His mother died shortly after arriving in America, and his father struggled to support the small family on his own. They moved several times during his childhood while his father searched for work, and eventually settled in Chicago where the teenaged Mazzanovich apprenticed as a sign painter. This experience excited his interest in art, and he soon enrolled in illustration classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1898 Mazzanovich received his first art commission from a publishing company to design titles for books.
In 1903, at the urging of his wife, Mazzanovich gave up commercial illustration and the couple moved to Paris, France where he could devote his full attention to the serious study of fine painting. In 1909 they returned to the United States, and settled in Westport, Connecticut, an emerging artists’ colony. At this time, Mazzanovich began to work in an Impressionistic style and focused almost exclusively on landscapes. He gained a reputation as a brilliant colorist and soon had a one man show at a gallery in Chicago. By 1917 his work was displayed in major metropolitan galleries throughout the country alongside great American artists such as George Bellows and Everett Shinn.
In the early 1920s, Mazzanovich left his family and career in Connecticut and began a new life in the small artist community of Tryon, North Carolina. There he met a piano teacher from England and remarried. In Tryon, his pace of life and artistic output slowed dramatically. Although he produced far fewer canvases, he was able to take his time with each piece and the quality of his work remained high. The couple was very active in the community and participated in the many cultural activities that Tryon had to offer. Mazzanovich stated that he felt he had “found his place” in the Blue Ridge Mountains and the views that he produced are both striking and sentimental. Rather than reproduce exactly what he saw, he would often hike to the top of a hill, briefly sketch en plein air, and then return to the studio to paint. The colors he utilized did not necessarily occur in nature, but they were how he remember them feeling in his mind’s eye. Though not a religious man in the traditional sense, Mazzanovich found mystical satisfaction and solace in the outdoors. The resulting images are often emotional renderings of the landscape, reflecting the artist’s love and reverence of nature.