William Samuel Schwartz Biography

William Samuel Schwartz




William S. Schwartz was born in Smorgon, Russia, February 23, 1896. His studies and travels were extensive as were his body of work and musical endeavors. Schwartz studied at the Vilna Art School in Russia with a four-year scholarship before immigrating to the United States at the age of 17. He lived with his sister in New York for eight months before joining his brother in Omaha. There he became a housepainter and continued his study in fine art at the Kellom School.

Under the instruction of J. Laurie Wallace, Schwartz studied life drawing, portraiture and painting. He later moved to Chicago where he continued his lessons at the Art Institute and assumed the role of principle tenor in various vaudeville, radio, concert and operatic performances. His musical career supported his tuition at the Institute throughout the 1920's when he became a well-recognized painter.

Schwartz's musical career continued to influence his works of abstract compositions, most notably in his series Symphonic Forms. His paintings have been closely sourced to the writings and philosophies of Wassily Kandinsky who explored the relations of music, spirituality, color and abstract form.

After graduating from the Art Institute, Schwartz continued to exhibit there annually in group shows until, in 1926, he held his first solo-exhibition at the Institute. He continued to exhibit extensively in Chicago, Madison, Dallas, New York, Detroit and at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. Schwartz received numerous awards and prizes throughout his career across the United States. In 1930 Manuel Chapman published an extensive study, William S. Schwartz, and in 1984, Hirschl & Adler Galleries Inc. held an exhibition of Schwartz's work for which Doug Dreishpoon wrote an eloquent introduction to the catalogue, "The Paintings, Drawings, and Lithographs of William S. Schwartz". Schwartz died in Chicago in 1977.