Dick Swift Biography

Dick Swift




Dick Swift (born Richard H. Swift, Jr.), printmaker, educator, and illustrator, was born in Long Beach, California on January 29, 1918. His studies began in 1938 at the Chouinard Art Institute where he was enrolled for three years. In 1943, Swift moved to New York to study for a year at the Art Students’ League where his principal teachers were Reginald Marsh, Will Barnet, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, and Morris Kantor. In 1946, he studied under Rico Lebrun at the Jepson Art Institute in Los Angeles. Swift returned to his art training in 1954, studying for two years at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles where his influential teachers were Ernest Freed and Guy Maccoy. He continued his studies at the Pasadena City College before entering Los Angeles State College where he earned his B.A. degree in 1957. Swift studied under Paul Darrow and Roger Kunz at Claremont Graduate University in Los Angeles and earned his M.F.A. in 1958. He also studied printmaking with Stanley William Hayter at Atelier 17 in Paris between 1964 and 1965.

Swift began his teaching career in 1946 at Occidental College. He joined the faculty at the California State University at Long Beach in 1958, where he would teach for 30 years and develop one of California's most highly regarded printmaking programs and studios. He was a member of and exhibited with the American Color Print Society and the Los Angeles Print Society, and served as its president in 1968 and 1969. His exhibition experience includes over thirty-five solo shows and over 340 group shows throughout the United States, Japan, and Europe, receiving more than 140 awards.

Dick Swift’s work is represented in the collections the Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio; the Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio; the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Tennessee; the Philadelphia Art Museum, Pennsylvania; the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., and the Worcester Art Museum, Massachusetts.

Swift died on June 8, 2010, at his home in Long Beach, CA.

Selected Awards and Recognitions:
1967: California State University Foundation Research Grant
1958: Fine Arts Foundation Award, Scripps College, 1958
1957: Tiffany Foundation Grant
Additional awards received by the following institutions and organizations: Washington Watercolor Society; Smithsonian Institution; University of Illinois, 1st Biennial of Religious Art, 1959; Los Angeles Annual, 1957, '59, '64; American Color Print Society, Philadelphia, PA, 1959, '65; National Academy (Audubon Society), NY, 1960; California State Exhibition, 1961; University of Illinois, 1962; National Exhibition of Religious Art, Birmingham, MI, 1962; San Diego Fine Arts Gallery, 1963; Wichita Art Association, 1963; Oklahoma Art Center, Contemporary American Art, 1964; Downey Art Museum, 1964; National Print Invitational, State University at Albany, NY, 1968; 1st National Invitational Print Invitational, Rio Hondo College, CA, 1968.

Selected Museum/Institutional Purchases: 
Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris (three works); Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; State of California Collection, Sacramento; New York Public Library, NY (fourteen works); Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA (two works); U.S. Embassies in Bogota, Columbia; Port au Prince, Haiti; and Colombo, Ceylon; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Pasadena Art Museum, CA; Otis Art Institute; Keio Galleries, Tokyo, Japan; Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. (sixteen works); among many others.