Monday, October 13, 2014


Daniel Schwartz is a gifted painter who worked as an illustrator in the days when illustration was more accepting of gifted painters.

Trained as a gallery painter and fine artist, Schwartz brought a distinctive class and dignity to his illustrations.  His talent was recognized early and he was awarded scholarships to the Arts Students League and the Rhode Island School of Design.  He also won several awards for his paintings and enjoyed successful one man shows at the Davis, Hirschl & Adler, Maxwell and Babcock galleries in New York.  His work was spread among the NY intellectual and arts communities, in the collections of figures such as Leonard Bernstein, William Styron, Gay Talese, William Paley and Daniel Selznick.


At the same time he was an award winning illustrator for top periodicals such as Esquire, Fortune and Playboy.

Today Schwartz remains a prolific artist who paints actively in his Manhattan studio.  Recently I had the great pleasure of spending an afternoon with him, looking at his originals and talking about his work.  I came away with enough material for a dozen posts.  In the days ahead I will be sharing some of the sketches, insights and original images I encountered during that rewarding visit.



MORAN said...

Awesome discovery! Where has he been all these years?

kev ferrara said...

Very sensitively felt work, in color, line and form. Also very ASL 1960s, of a piece with Silverman, Dinnerstein, Heindel, Fawcett, Degas, Fuchs, and others. Someday the art of that time and place will be seen as a movement, I think.

Anonymous said...

I wondered what happened to Schwartz. He won a lot of gold medals from the S of I. I thought he was the best of that whole group but he left illustration.


David Apatoff said...

MORAN-- Schwartz has been painting and teaching in Manhattan, while working on a number of ambitious projects which I will be describing.

Kev Ferrara-- Very astute. Schwartz grew up with Silverman, and Dinnerstein was a long term friend. I suspect this talented group had similar notions about the potential for a modern realism. Schwartz's illustrations were unique for that dripping effect where he combined chance and careful control. He was quite well known for it.

JSL-- True, Schwartz was elected to the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame and won several gold medals there.

Laurence John said...

i immediately thought of David Levine's watercolours when i saw these.... a bit of googling reveals he was acquainted with Schwartz too.

kev ferrara said...

David Levine was the other name I was trying to remember. Thanks Laurence.

David Apatoff said...

Laurence John and Kev Ferrara-- I believe Schwartz has a large Levine pen and ink drawing on his wall.

They were part of the same circle of thoughtful, articulate artists. When you listen to these artists discuss their objectives for their work, they seem far more literate and self-aware than many of their modern counterparts.

Unknown said...

I admired Schwartz's work in the 60s
and clipped a lot of it. He seemed to be head and shoulders above most

Laurence John said...

one of the key stylistic traits of the loose group mentioned above - Levine, Heindel, Fuchs etc. - is the frequent use of a very limited, or weak tonal / value range (if it's a movement it might be called 'The Gauzy Value School).

often the murky and / or pale values are given a 'flattened' effect by being next to or surrounded by dark areas.

often highlights are about the only thing that suggests form in the streaky ground.

the figures are often constructed of very little in terms of value range to give them form.

i can only assume these artist were drawing heavily from Whistler and Degas though i'd like to hear that assumption backed up by a quote from one of the artists. perhaps you have such a quote David ?

similar stylistic traits can be seen in some of the work of a younger generation such as...

Jon J Muth
Bill Sienkiewicz
Michael Carson
Sterling Hundley

i've also noticed similarities between all of the above and the photo secession photographers such as Clarence White.
again, i don't have any quotes from the above artists to back this up.
i don't think the role of the camera should be underestimated in this tradition though.

David Apatoff said...

Harold Henriksen-- From the emails I am receiving on the side, there seems to be a number of people who collected those tearsheets in the 1960s, even if they were unsure of who the artist was.

Thanks for writing.

Laurence John-- I know the answers to some of your questions from my talks with Schwartz. He selectively uses photographs for reference (just like every artist from Degas, Bonnard and Cezanne onward) but he doesn't project, lightbox or photoshop them. You will be able to see from his life drawings and other material in future posts that he is a traditional artist who works extensively from the model.

I agree that Schwartz often uses a limited value range. (Beside the artists you mention, other artists who employed this approach successfully include Thomas Wilmer Dewing, Mark English, Jeff Jones, and John Gannam. I have shown examples I especially like by Gannam and English on this blog in the past. ) On the other hand, Schwartz also employs stark, high contrast effects (such as the pregnant woman in the white shirt) as tools in his toolbox.

I'm sure somebody has named this limited range style of painting over the past century, but after looking at the originals I would suggest the name "subtle" or "delicate" over "gauzy." Some of these paintings are quite hard edge, not gauzy at all; the main thing is that the color variety within this limited value range can still be quite broad and imaginative. It's difficult to do them justice in the reproduction process.

Laurence John said...

David, i was thinking 'gauzy' as meaning 'delicate' or 'light' rather than soft-focus.

you're right, there's a better word somewhere. i actually think of this approach as 'weak value' but that might sound derogatory.

also, i'm aware that Schwartz's approach is far more varied than this particular trait. i think he's a bit hit and miss to be honest. for instance, in the 'magnum opus' painting the weak values / muted colours against dark saturated areas has all gone a bit Hockney.

Laurence John said...


when i mentioned the camera, i wasn't so much thinking of photo ref for figures, but rather that this whole 'weak value' school seems to be influenced by the look of certain photographic print effects, such as 'thin' exposure, streaky developing / toning, and burnt out highlights. see again this Degas photo for an example of what i'm referring to.

eric fowler said...

A strong example of Schwartz's ability to create compelling abstract crowd scenes is on display at the Art Directors Club. It is one of over 70 works from the Permanent Collection of the Society of Illustrators. This new exhibition is curated by me, Eric Fowler, Collections Manager and PC Chairman, Richard Berenson.
The shows theme is "A Purposeful partnership". Other illustrators of note are: Pruett Carter, Bernie Fuchs,Flagg, Cornwell, Von Scmidt, Peak and others.

David Apatoff said...

Eric Fowler-- Sounds like a terrific exhibit, I would love to go if I can make it to New York. The Society's web site advertises the reception for the show but doesn't say how long the show will be up. Can you tell us more? Is there any kind of a catalog or other written materials?

Thanks for bringing this to our attention!

Oscar Grillo said...

I haven't seen Schwartz's work in aeons!!!..Excelent!