Claude Lawrence was born in Chicago in 1944. He lived in Hyde Park on Chicago’s South Side for most of his youth and attended Gillespie Elementary School and then Wendell Phillips High School. In 1959 while he was a high school student, he began taking tenor saxophone lessons at the Chicago School of Music. He played in the clubs around Chicago, but as other musicians moved to New York he followed. Landing in New York in 1964, Lawrence found the city exciting, stimulating, and also generally overcrowded. The 1980s for Lawrence was an important decade. First he played and recorded with Sirone and jazz legend Denis Charles eventually releasing the album Live, which they first recorded at the Public Theater in NYC in 1981. Subsequently he held a steady gig with the jazz drummer William Hooker until 1989. As part of a larger ensemble, he played large venues such as Lincoln Center situating Lawrence in New York full-time from 1986 to 1989.  And due to a surreptitious series of events, this was also the period that he began to paint seriously. Living in New York from 1986-1989, Stockbridge, Massachusetts from 1989-1990, Los Angeles, California from 1991-1993, New York from 1993-1994, Sag Harbor, New York from 1994-1998, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from 1998-1999, Chicago, Illinois from 1999-2001, Sag Harbor from 2001-2006, Mexico from 2006-2010, and Chicago from 2010 to the present, Lawrence had a fairly peripatetic life. Nevertheless, he would always settle down long enough to set up an easel and paint for months and at times years. In 2014, Lawrence exhibited at Aaron Payne Gallery in Sante Fe, NM. Furthermore, his For One Night Only, 2003 was acquired by the Studio Museum in 2014. The Metropolitan Museum of Art acquired Saturday Night, 2000, Dancing Eyes, 2003, and Oasis, 2001. Lawrence is featured in collections at the Los Angeles African American Museum, the Parrish Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the American Folk Art Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the New Orleans Museum, the Newark Museum, the National Gallery, the Wallace Gallery Columbia University, the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture and the Detroit Institute of Art.  Most recently, Lawrence's solo exhibition,Beyond Improvisation at the Gerald Peters Gallery in New York was the first one man showing of his work since his time in New York.