Isac Friedlander was born in Mitau, Latvia on April 22, 1890. Between 1906 and 1912, he was arrested and imprisoned by Russian authorities for anti-czarist political activities. From 1913 to 1917 he studied art at the Academy of Rome, Italy, where he befriended Russian writer Maxim Gorky. In 1915 he began a printing career, and in 1917 he repatriated to Russia during the Kerensky regime.
In 1929, Friedlander emigrated to the US with the encouragement of his cousin, Joseph Hirshhorn. In the USA, he designed the dustjacket for Black Manhattan by James Weldon Johnson, and in 1934 he was awarded first prize for print 'Revival' at the 8th Annual Print Club of Philadelphia Exhibition. In 1943, Friedlander was awarded first prize for print 'Spiritual' at the 17th Annual Print Club of Philadelphia Exhibition, and in 1947 he was elected as outstanding etcher in the Britannica Book of the Year. In 1960 he was awarded the Lilienthal Purchase Prize by the California Society of Etchers for 'Ecclesiastes.' He died on August 23rd, 1960, in New York City.