The M. Christine Schwartz Collection consists of paintings by artists associated with Chicago from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. Included are landscapes, portraits, city views, still lifes, and figural works in a variety of academic and modernist styles.
The Story of the Collection
In 2007 Chris Schwartz purchased a group of thirty-six paintings by Chicago artists to prevent the collection from being dispersed out of state. With continued research Chris realized that knowledge and appreciation of Chicago’s historical art and artists were in their infancy. As the collection grew Chris was determined to share her enthusiasm for Chicago’s historical art. She helped to fund the digitization of primary source material in the collection of the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries of the Art Institute of Chicago, while also seeking a vehicle for expanding the worldwide audience for Chicago art.
The M. Christine Schwartz Collection eventually grew to more than one hundred paintings. In 2021, Chris donated more than fifty of them to museums and other public institutions across the country.
This virtual venue is designed to share the entirety of the original collection with viewers everywhere. For each painting we offer a compact essay and a brief artist biography, along with a zoomable image. Also included are listings of past and present exhibitions in which works from the collection have been featured and resources for learning more about Chicago’s historical art and artists. The current location of each painting donated from the collection is noted at the end of its object essay.
Research on the works in the collection and the artists who created them continues. We seek documentation regarding the original titles, exact creation dates, and exhibition histories of many of the paintings. In addition, much remains to be learned about the lives and careers of the artists. Please contact us with your contributions of information, as well as your comments and questions.
How to Use This Website
The collection can be explored in various ways.
On the Artists page, view a complete list of artists represented in the collection. Click an artist’s name to view a brief biography. Below it are thumbnail images of each of the artist’s paintings in the collection. Click an image to go to a dedicated page for the painting, where you’ll find a zoomable image and an object essay. You can print or email the page by clicking the icons at the bottom.
Paintings can also be accessed from the Collection page. Browse the entire collection by image, organized alphabetically by artist name or chronologically by creation date. Collection contents can be filtered by genre (such as landscape, portrait, or still life), by artist group (including women artists, African American artists, and immigrant artists), or by subject category (such as Chicago people and places, fantasy, or children).
For specific searches, click Open Search to search by artist name, by title, or by genre or category. Keyword searching in biographies and essays is also supported.
All texts have been researched and written by Wendy Greenhouse, PhD, and edited by Phil Freshman (assisted by Susan C. Jones) and by Beth Franken. Photography by Michael Tropea.
For research support we are deeply grateful to the staffs of
Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, Art Institute of ChicagoArchives of the Art Institute of Chicago
Chicago History Museum
Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Library CenterIllinois Historical Art Project
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Union League Club of Chicago.
Thanks are also due to
William J. Ewers, The Palette and Chisel Academy of Fine ArtsBernard Friedman
John Horner, Kansas City Public Library
Barb Houlberg and Klindt Houlberg
Peter Lundberg, Janus Galleries, Madison, WisconsinDenise Mahoney, Department of American Arts, Art Institute of Chicago Tyler Mongerson and Margot Mache, Tyler Mongerson Gallery, ChicagoRichard Norton and Susan Klein-Bagdad, Richard Norton Gallery, ChicagoRachel Perry, former Fine Arts Curator, Indiana State MuseumElizabeth Rupprecht
the late Esther Sparks
Doug Stapleton, Illinois State Museum
Susan Weininger, Professor Emerita, Roosevelt University.
Steven M. Shape & Associates, Attorney, provided trademark, copyright, and internet law expertise.
Studio Blue designed the website.