William S. Schwartz Interior Art - Chicago Modernist Line Drawing Reclining Nude WPA Artist. Exhibited Work
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William S. Schwartz
Chicago Modernist Line Drawing Reclining Nude WPA Artist. Exhibited Work

c. 1930

About

Reclining Nude.Early modernist line drawing, by American artist William S. Schwartz, c. 1940, gouache painting, signed with initials, framed. (size includes frame). Work is reminiscent of the drawings of Joseph Solman. William S. Schwartz (February 23, 1896 – February 10, 1977) was an American artist who lived and worked in Chicago. Schwartz was born in Smorgon in Belarus, then in the Russian Empire in 1896. His parents were Samuel Schwartz and Tauba Reznikoff. At the age of thirteen, he moved to the nearby city of Vilna to attend art school. Four years later, he emigrated to the United States and eventually enrolled in the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. After graduating, he put his art career on hold to concentrate on a budding career as an opera singer. When Schwartz returned to painting, he distinguished himself with dreamy, symbolist works and abstractions that tended to bewilder viewers. He also scandalized conservative audiences with numerous lithographs of nude women. During the Great Depression, Schwartz became an artist on the Federal Art Project (WPA) payroll painting murals. He was one of the seven WPA artists who contributed to a mural at Riccardo's, Schwartz (Music), Malvin Albright (Sculpture), Ivan Alrbight (Drama), Aaron Bohrod (Architecture), Rudolph Weisenborn (Literature), Vincent D’Agostino (Painting), and Ric Riccardo (Dance). In 2002 Chicago philanthropist Seymour H. Persky acquired the murals for his personal collection. Through the WPA, Schwarz received commissions to produce murals in post offices and public spaces. He created his “Americana Series,” a group of four paintings featuring poets, painters, composers and scientists. His Composersdepicts four contemporary musicians, among them, Victor Herbert. The mural was discovered at Glencoe Public Library, IL, in 2007, and include: Americana No. 1 Poets: Mark Twain, Walt Whitman and Edgar Allen Poe; Americana No. 2 Painters: Saint Gaudens, Bellows, Sargent, Innes, Whistler and Homer; Americana No. 3 Composers: Herbert, DeKoven, Chadwick, MacDowel; Americana No. 4 Scientists: Thomas Alva Edison, Steinmetz, Alexander Graham Bell, and Morse. Working under the supervision of Increase Robinson in Chicago, he painted Regionalist works showing the countryside and small-town American life. It was not until the early 1940s that Schwartz returned to painting the esoteric imagery for which he had become known. Greatly influenced by European surrealism, Schwartz painted strange biomorphic forms and apocalyptic scenes in many of his works. He became a well-known figure in Chicago, mostly due to his memorable handlebar mustache and eccentric persona. He was also one of a group of prominent Chicago artists—including Ivan Albright, Malvin Albright, and Aaron Bohrod—that hung out at Riccardo's Restaurant and Gallery during the 1940s and 1950s. Drawing from the fauve spirit and utilizing elements of cubism, constructivism, and surrealism, Schwartz considered himself a “romantic modernist,” refusing to bend to the whims of what was in vogue. In the mid-1920s, Schwartz started painting what many consider his greatest achievement, a surrealist series called the “Symphonic Forms.” While not documented, it was widely accepted that Schwartz attended the Wassily Kandinsky solo retrospective at The Art Institute in Chicago in 1922.In his final years, Schwartz returned exclusively to painting abstracts; these paintings are considered among his best work. Schwartz began suffering from Alzheimer's disease around 1970 and died in Chicago on February 10, 1977. The Art Institute of Chicago and the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha have several of Schwartz’s works in their permanent collections.

Details

  • Artist
    William S. Schwartz (1896-1977, Russian/American)
  • Creation Year
    c. 1930
  • Medium
  • Dimensions
    H 14.25 in. x W 16.25 in. x D .1 in.H 36.2 cm x W 41.28 cm x D 2.54 mm
  • Gallery Location
    Bal Harbour, FL
  • Reference Number
    LU3824371481
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About the Seller

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Located in Bal Harbour, FL
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