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Carl Schwartz’s ‘Koi, Red and Green’

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Koi, Red and Green 02Among the paintings contained in Florida Gulf Coast University’s permanent collection is Koi, Red and Green. It was donated to the university by Carl E. Schwartz, who taught drawing and painting at FGCU for many years.

 

About Carl Schwartz

Carl SchwartzCarl Schwartz joined the Art Program at FGCU as an adjunct drawing professor in January of 1999 and was hired as a full-time instructor in the Fall of 2005.  He “retired” in 2008, although he continued to teach one course each semester through the Spring of 2013.

“Carl taught with a passion and conviction that Carl Schwartz 4was remarkable,” observed FGCU Associate Professor of Art Morgan T. Paine, who is a founding member of the FGCU art program. “His students saw in him a practicing artist who was engaged in the pursuit of beauty. As an artist, he made many images that captured and created a very special kind of light. Perhaps, more importantly, as an educator he left his students with the tools, skill and motivation to make even more light.”

Schwartz Water Lillies 01As a student himself, Carl was influenced by a variety of styles, including surrealism, cubism and abstract expressionism. Although his work looks like none of these early influences, they nevertheless left their mark on his personal style.

During the 1960s, his work varied from vegetable still life painting to compositions dealing with the human figure. It was his involvement with light Carl Schwartz Koipatterns formed by plant material on the nude figure which led to the first painting in his Rock Garden series in the early 1970s. These paintings focused on rocks and foliage with an occasional flower or two, and set the direction for later work, such as his Dappled Light series that explored the effects of light, which assumed central importance in his entire body of work.

“As a painter of light, I am fascinated with atmosphere and form,” said Carl. “To me, there are two worlds …. the one we live in and the one I Carl Schwartz 101create. Painting is the discipline by which I constantly rediscover both of these worlds. What I try to find is order. I first look for the essential beauty of the environment and this beauty will then be both the subject as well as the expression on canvas. Then I experience the personal pleasure of expressing my attitude toward what I think is beauty or the force of nature.”

Schwartz applied these principles to the material he found in his the spectacular winter garden that he and his wife and fellow artist Celeste Borah meticulously maintained in the backyard of their home in Fort Myers, not far from the FGCU campus. “After many years designing and building gardens, I am expressing my joy in Carl Schwartz 100them as an artist,” he remarked of the experience. “In my paintings, I capture the glorious textures, hues and lushness of my garden at its peak of perfection. I sit amidst sumptuous surroundings and sketch. Each sketch captures a moment. Then I assemble these notes in a way that a camera never could. I can show, on the same surface, the Carl Schwartz 02illusion of form, color and space from different points of view. Thus, the painting is a more complete idea of what the garden really is.”

In 1969, Schwartz was among the first artists to do lithographic prints at Chicago’s Landfall Press. His involvement with original prints widened his exposure and culminated in further exploration with intaglio printmaking at Lakeside Studio in Michigan.

Carl Schwartz 102Before moving to Florida in 1984, Carl taught figure drawing and painting in Chicago at the North Shore Art League for almost 30 years. “I believe an artist out of necessity, in a positive way, must be selfish with his or her time and energy to accomplish growth,” Schwartz maintained.

Carl was born in Detroit and educated at the Art Schwartz Looking Through My Bedroom WindowInstitute of Chicago and the University of Chicago, where he earned a BFA degree. In 1958, he won the Logan Prize at the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as an award at the Old Orchard Art Festival. Since that beginning, his work has been shown in numerous exhibitions and garnered a wide range of awards and prizes.

Schwartz has work in permanent collections throughout the United States, including The Smithsonian Institution, Kemper Insurance, AT&T, Sears, Delta Airlines, Beatrice Foods and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., as well as the British Museum in London. He had a 50-year retrospective in the FGCU Art Gallery in 2009, where he showed watercolors, prints and acrylic paintings of his Through the Windowfavorite subjects of water gardens and koi fish, landscapes and still lives. On December 14, 2014, FGCU staged a memorial reception in Carl’s honor in the ArtLab Gallery which featured a series of paintings he began while undergoing chemotherapy, along with his sketchbooks, post-it notes and lesson plans.

He died on September 21 after a multi-year battle with cancer.

 

Teaching Philosophy

Schwartz was known for providing hands-on demonstrations of methods, materials and techniques at the beginning of each of Koi, Red and Green 03the classes he taught. “I believe, most importantly, the student needs to be taught to observe, ‘to see,’ then with a better understanding of their surroundings, be given the technical and critical advice so as to inspire,” Carl believed. “As they train their eyes, develop observational powers and technical skills they are then moved through numerous traditional methods of drawing, both objective and subjective. This ability to analyze what they see will be beneficial on their future creative visual affairs.”

In his classes, Carl encouraged his students to develop good work habits while honing the skills necessary to articulate various medias so they will be able to express their ideas and feelings. “I Schwartz Drawingbelieve the courses should teach solid, basic academic techniques while encouraging individual expression.”

Schwartz was adamant that art students should learn to see and draw accurately, regardless of the discipline(s) they intend to pursue. “I firmly believe the student should develop the skills and ‘to know the rules before they break them.’ [T]he student should be equipped so that they are able to express themselves, their thoughts, their ideas and how they ‘feel’ about things visually. [I]f they are unable to articulate an idea or feeling, then they will be unable to communicate.”

 

Other Artworks in the FGCU Public Art Collection

The FGCU public art collection contains more than 100 other artworks including such notable monumental sculptures as Albert Paley’s Cross Currents, Robert Roesch’s Transition 2012, Brower Hatcher’s ArchwayDepend du Soleil and Whatever You Say Dear by Mark Fuller, Clayton Swartz’s Skyward, and Verve by fused glass artist Michele Gutlove.

 

Related Articles, Posts and Other Links.

 

Retrospective of Carl Schwartz’ life work coming to Alliance in September (08-25-16)

Carl SchwartzThe Alliance for the Arts is exhibiting a retrospective in September of the work compiled by the late Carl E. Schwartz between 1956 and his death in 2014.

Schwartz taught figure drawing and painting in Chicago at the North Shore Art League for almost 30 years. He moved to Florida in 1984 and Carl Schwartz 100returned to teaching in 1999 when he joined the art faculty at Florida Gulf Coast University, where he taught drawing and painting and enjoyed the satisfaction of watching the growth of young artists for 14 more years. He passed away on September 21, 2014.

As an artist, Carl’s work embraces color, form and a Carl Schwartz 02unique perspective that combined realism with the influence of cubism and abstract expressionism. In fact, the influence of abstract expressionism hangs just below the surface of his work. Seen in detail, it is completely abstract.

“I am a painter of light,” Carl explained numerous times. “I’m intrigued and fascinated with form. To me, there are two worlds…the one we live in… and the one that I create. Painting is the discipline by Carl Schwartz Koi 2which I constantly rediscover both of these worlds.”

Tight shapes and controlled technique are certainly trademarks of his work. Using controlled forms, he produced what we perceive as “real,” and as a result, the subject of the painting becomes secondary to the form.

Carl crystallized the act of seeing for us, focusing our attention where his passion and vision lead him. The strength and energy of his work was Carl Schwartz Koicreated by sheer hard work combined with his ability to break down shape and form into its smallest components.

Although Carl devoted his life to teaching and creating art, he also made the time to pursue interests that extended beyond the canvas, particularly gardening. He did not just tend gardens, he create a number of  them that became so renowned they were featured in various magazines. The water garden that he installed and maintained at his home contains several Koi Koi, Red and Green 02ponds complete with water lilies, some of which he propagated himself. He even filled his garden with unusual plant life not often encountered elsewhere. It provided a perfect setting and was the subject of many of his watercolors and acrylic paintings.

Carl Schwartz 101Born in Detroit, Schwartz received his art education at the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Chicago, where he earned a BFA degree. His impressive biography lists awards, such as the Logan Medal from the Art Institute of Chicago, juried and invitational exhibitions like Art Across America sponsored by Mead Corporation, and one and two person shows at Illinois State Museum and the Art Institute S&R Gallery in Chicago. His works are on display in more than 25 colleges and universities throughout the country, including Harvard, Ball State, Loyola, Michigan State, Nevada, Minnesota, Chicago and, of course, Florida Gulf Coast University. He has many major placements in Carl Schwartz 102permanent collections throughout the United States, including The Smithsonian Institution, Kemper Insurance, AT&T, Sears, Delta Airlines, Beatrice Foods, and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Abroad, his work can also be found in the British Museum in London. He worked with and was published by both Reader’s Digest and Playboy Magazine. He can be Schwartz Water Lillies 01found in Who’s Who, Who’s Who in the Midwest as well as Who’s Who in American Art.

Remembering Carl: Works from 1956-2014 will be on display from September 9-30. An opening reception will be held at the Alliance from 5:00-7:00 p.m. on Friday, September 9.

Please visit www.ArtInLee.org to learn more.  The exhibit is sponsored by The Law Offices of Thomas C. Chase, P.A.

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Memorial exhibition to be held on December 14 of Carl Schwartz’s work in FGCU ArtLab (10-29-14)

Carl SchwartzLong-time FGCU Drawing and Painting instructor Carl E. Schwartz died following a multi-year battle with cancer on Sunday, September 21, one day after his 79th birthday. An artist to the end, Carl began a series of paintings while undergoing chemotherapy. This series will be the focus of a memorial reception at Florida Gulf Coast Koi, Red and Green 03University in honor of Carl Schwartz and his contribution to the university’s students and community. Pages from his sketchbooks, post-it notes and lesson plans will also be on view in the ArtLab at this time.

Schwartz joined the Art Programat FGCU in January of 1999 as an adjunct drawing professor, and was hired as a full-time instructor in the fall of 2005. He “retired” in 2008, although he continued to teach one course each semester through the Spring of 2013.

He was born in Detroit and educated at the Art Institute of Robert Pavon 02Chicago and the University of Chicago, where he earned a BFA degree.  Carl taught figure drawing and painting in Chicago at the North Shore Art League for almost 30 years. He moved to Florida permanently in 1984.  He and his wife, artist Celeste Borah, lived, painted and tended with their spectacular water garden here in Fort Myers, not far from the FGCU campus.

Carl taught with a passion and conviction that was remarkable.  His students saw in him a practicing artist who was engaged in the pursuit of beauty. As an Carl Schwartz 02artist he made many images that captured and created a very special kind of light.  Perhaps more importantly, as an educator, he left his students with the tools, skills and motivations to make their own light.

Schwartz has work in permanent collections throughout the United States, including The Smithsonian Institution, Kemper Insurance, AT&T, Sears, Delta Airlines, Beatrice Foods, the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., as well as the British Museum in London. He had a 50-year retrospective in the FGCU Art Gallery in 2009, Frank Verpoorten on Carl Schwartzwhere he showed watercolors, prints and acrylic paintings of his favorite subjects of water gardens and koi fish, landscapes and still lives.  He recently donated a painting to the University.

The memorial reception will take place in the ArtLab at Florida Gulf Coast University from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, December 14. It will feature unfinished work, sketchbooks, lesson plans and even some of Carl’s post-it notes. Come celebrate Carl’s life, his art and the FGCU art community that he loved and fostered. For more information, please contact Anica Sturdivant at 239-590-7199.

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