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 John Schwatschke  (1943 - )

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Lived/Active: Ireland      Known for: portraits, caricatures

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Ad Code: 3
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from Auction House Records.
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

The following information is provided by Mary Robertson, Biographer, Le Musee Schwatschke London WC1:

John SCHWATSCHKE is an Irish-born (Dublin, 1943) portrait painter of Austro-Irish parents.  His original ambition was to be a concert pianist and composer, and he gave three piano recitals of classical works and his own compositions in Waterford, Vevey and Tours.  However, his friendship with the Irish President de Valera (whom he painted as Chancellor of the National University) after leaving school, led to the President persuading him to “do one thing and do it well”, which he thought should be art.  Schwatschke took this advice and continued to record his works meticulously.

Meanwhile, his business career, after studying Architecture in Dublin, led to a management position in the Middle East, where he managed, as Project Manager, two Saudi-German joint ventures (SR15m and subsequently SR20m) , working for the King’s banker at Jeddah.  However, he maintained a studio in Provence (1970-1979) where he was a neighbour of Picasso in Mougins, and where Le Musée Schwatschke was later established for the benefit of the village of Valbonne. However, government restrictions prevented the project from being completed and it was built instead near the artist’s home at Carlow, Ireland (opened 1976 by the Austrian ambassador, closed 1994).

The artist lived in the U.S. on and off between 1975 and 1985, in Montecito, California.  He returned to Ireland to look after his elderly parents in their final years, and in 1996 resumed painting full time.  In his formal academic portraiture the artist has been patronised by President de Valera of Ireland, Ingrid Bergman, Cyril Cusack, Noel Purcell, Prince Philip (the 1979 portrait), Archbishops Simms and McAdoo of Dublin, Robert Mitchum, Lunia Czechowska (Modigliani’s model) and many others in Europe and USA.

Until 2007,  the artist had produced 1,800 paintings and bronze sculptures, all of which are recorded in the archives of Le Musée Schwatschke.

Sources include:
Interview with the Artist Z. Medlow, 1994
Schwatschke: Biography & Catalogue Raisonné of the first 1,000 Works: Mary Robertson, Minerva Press, London / Washington, 1996.

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