Born in the Ukraine, Jacob Kramer came to England with his family in 1900 and settled in the Jewish community in Leeds. Jacob Kramer had already learned the rudiments of painting from his father, who had been a court painter in their homeland of Russia, and the young boy’s innate talent was recognised immediately. Jacob Kramer's artistic development was heavily influenced by his contact with the members of the Vorticist group, with whom he exhibited in 1915, although he did not join them, choosing instead his own artistic path. Jacob Kramer's mature style can best be described as Expressionist although it reflects the influence of Cubist ideals.
A profoundly serious and sensitive man, Jacob Kramer instilled into his art a deep sense of religious conviction revolving around the Jewish community in which he lived and worked. Jacob Kramer began printmaking in 1916 and, as far as is known, was entirely self-taught in this branch of art. He remained closely associated with the city of Leeds throughout his life and the city has paid tribute to him by naming the Jacob Kramer College of Art in his honour.