Lester O. Schwartz Biography

Lester O. Schwartz




Lester O. Schwartz, painter, printmaker and sculptor, was born on 29 June 1912 in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, where he attended Lincoln High School. He later studied at the school of the Art Institute of Chicago where he was greatly influenced by the teaching of Boris Anisfeld, a Russian American painter and theater designer. His student work was included in the School of the Art Institute Annual Exhibitions in 1936 and 1937. In 1937, the Art Institute of Chicago award Schwartz the Edward L. Ryerson Traveling Fellowship of $2,500.00, which he used to travel the South Pacific, Asia and Europe. During two years of travel, he studied at he American Academy in Rome and the Académie Colarossi in Paris. 

Upon his return to the United States, Schwartz worked for the WPA in both Wisconsin and Illinois and in the 1940s he served in the United States Army at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri where he was assigned the task of creating paintings for the chapel.

Between 1944 and 1977, Schwartz was a teacher and artist-in-residence at Ripon College in Ripon, Wisconsin. He renovated a fraternity house into a studio and was given the opportunity to paint daily as long as he taught for four hours each day.

In the summer of 1939 an exhibition of his paintings was mounted at Art Institute of Chicago. His work was included in the 49th Annual and 51st Annual Exhibitions by Artists of Chicago and Vicinity in 1943 and 1947 at the Art Institute of Chicago. Schwartz was a member of the Wisconsin Painters and Sculptors and showed in their First Biennial Members Exhibition in 1949 at the Walker Art Center. His work is represented in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Detroit Institute of Art, the Miller Art Museum, the Newark Museum, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Lester O. Schwartz died in Ripon, Wisconsin on May 16, 2006.