(1912, Manitowac - 2006, Ripon, WI)
While in his late teens Lester enjoyed cartooning and received a scholarship to the Art Institute of Chicago to study commercial art; even though his true passion was for the fine arts. He attended classes for about two years until he became disillusioned with the teaching, he returned home to work for his father.
Before long he realized he really wanted to be an artist, possibly the “Gauguin of Manitowoc” so he returned to the Art Institute of Chicago. This time he studied under Boris Anisfelt, a Russian-Jewish instructor, and applied himself so well that by his fourth year he qualified for a fellowship to travel around the world for two and a half years including study in Paris where he met Pablo Picasso.
At twenty-two, Schwartz was very influenced by Paul Gauguin and decided to travel to Bali where he painted for the next ten months; a country of contrasts it was considered to be the “paradise of the world” but in reality was very poverty stricken. Schwartz later worked for the WPA in both Illinois and Wisconsin, and served in the U.S. Army, at Fort Leonardwood, where the Chaplain assign...