By COLlive reporter
Known American-Israeli artist Michel Schwartz, who had a special relationship with the Rebbe and Chabad over the years, passed away Friday, Elul 10, 5771.
He was 85.
Schwartz was born in Catskill, NY in 1926. His artistic talent was recognized early by his teachers, and at the age of 13, he was enrolled in the New York School of Art and Design.
Over the years he has created many works which hang proudly in the Israeli Presidents’ Residence, the Kenesset, Jerusalem’s City Hall, as well as in the White House (a sculpture presented to President Ronald Reagan from Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir) and in many synagogues and private collections of Jewish art.
He was especially close to and inspired by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson who he met at the age of 15. The two would meet twice a month, in 770 Eastern Parkway, to discuss illustrations for “Talks and Tales,” the monthly children’s magazine.
“I always knew that the Rebbe supported and encouraged artistic achievement, and on a number of occasions, he expressed his feeling that the gift of artistic talent is on the highest level,” Schwartz told Chabad.org.
He recalled how when the Crown Heights Art Gallery opened on Kingston Avenue, the Rebbe personally issued a check for $10,000 to help with the expenses and instructed that the gallery be used for art instruction, and designated Henoch Lieberman, one of the most gifted Chassidic artists of the century, to conduct classes for both men and women.
“The Rebbe also personally attended occasional art exhibitions to indicate his interest in aiding the development of new Jewish artists,” said Schwartz, who over the years worked for Chabad, including creating the famous logos of Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch and Tzivos Hashem.
Read more about Schwartz and the Rebbe: http://www.chabad.org/therebbe/article_cdo/aid/375089/jewish/The-Rebbe-and-the-Artist.htm
The funeral will take place today at 12:15 pm at Sinai Chapels
16205 Horace Harding Expressway, Fresh Meadows, Queens