John a. Schweitzer, lld, rca, osa born 1952 in Simcoe, Ontario, Canada

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JOHN A. SCHWEITZER, LLD, RCA, OSA

Born 1952 in Simcoe, Ontario, Canada

Lives and works in Montréal, Québec, Canada


BIOGRAPHY
2014 Completion of series The Snows of Ruskin

Portrait commission by photographer Laszlo, Montréal

Portrait commission by Guillaume Gilbert, Paris

Meeting with artist Jim Dine and photographer Diana Michener, Montréal

Meeting with architect Daniel Libeskind, Montréal, on occasion of inauguration of National September 11 Memorial & Museum, New York

2013- Genesis of series of drawings Genius Loci

Inauguration, Espace Poirier Schweitzer Space, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto

2013 Meeting with author Malcolm Gladwell, McGill University, Montréal

Meeting with author Edmund White, Blue Metropolis Montréal International Literary Festival, Montréal

2012- Inauguration, The John A. Schweitzer Award for Inspired Teaching of Art, English Montreal School Board, Montréal

2012-14 Representation by Nasser & Co., New York (stable of artists includes Basquiat, Picasso, Warhol, et al.)

2012 Exhibition of Rodin’s Mahler, 1909-1911, Gustav Mahler-Alfred Rosé Collection, The John A. Schweitzer Gallery, Archives and Research Collections Centre, The University of Western Ontario, London

Portrait commission by painter Carole P. Freeman, Toronto, on occasion of Schweitzer’s 60th birthday

2011-12 Completion of sculpture series Mythobjets

Exhibition of Hans Hofmann’s Variations of a Theme: No. 2, 1954, oil on canvas, from The John A. Schweitzer Collection, Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida

Exhibition of John Heward’s (sign) 24, 1984, acrylic on rayon, gift of The John A. Schweitzer Collection, Jean Derome, guest curator, Big Bang,” Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, Montréal

2011 Recipient, Doctor of Laws degree, honoris causa, Arts and Humanities, The University of Western Ontario, London

Preliminary research of new series, inspired by The Making of Americans, by Gertrude Stein (1911), Stein Archives, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

Reunion with photographer Renate Ponsold, widow of Robert Motherwell, Greenwich, Connecticut

Meeting with painter Helen Frankenthaler, Darien, Connecticut

Meeting with painter Frank Roth, New York

Acquisition of Fresh Kills: XXIV Elegies by the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, New York on occasion of the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 tragedy

Portrait commission by photographer Gabor Szilasi, Westmount, Québec, on occasion of the 2012 centenary of collage


John A. Schweitzer [in the spirit of Siddons], portrait commission by photographer Richard-Max Tremblay, on occasion of Schweitzer’s receipt of a Doctor of Laws degree by The University of Western Ontario, London

Death of painter Cy Twombly

Meeting with author Gore Vidal, McGill University, Montréal

Acquisition of archives of collector Kenneth W. Dow, St. Augustine, Florida

Exhibition of photographic portraits of John A. Schweitzer by Richard-Max Tremblay, Tête-à-tête : Portraits d’artistes, Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, Montréal

2010- Representation in Europe by Michèle Marin, Paris

2010   Meeting with The New Yorker critic, Adam Gopnik, McGill University, Montréal

Acquisition of James Brown’s collage Oil Splat (1989)

Completion of series Vallum Hadrianus


Death of author J. D. Salinger

2009-13 Representation in Canada by Michel Moreault, Galerie Dominion, Montréal

2009 Meeting with neuroscientist Dr. Brenda Milner, Montréal

2007 Portrait commission by painter Eva Prager, Westmount, Québec

Acquisition of Robert Motherwell’s collage America-La France Variations VIII (1983-1984)

Death of film directors Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni, on the same day

2006-09 Representation by Galerie d’Este, Westmount, Québec (stable of artists includes Bates, Fournier, Fox, Shuebrook, Sullivan, Urquhart, et al.)

2006- Inauguration of The John A. Schweitzer Gallery, Montreal Children’s Hospital, Montréal, under auspices of The Art for Healing Foundation

2006 Acquisition of Francis Bacon lithograph Portrait of Pope Innocent X (1989)

Acquisition of Joseph Beuys’ photo-based collage Cooper Union (1970)

Acquisition of Joan Mitchell’s collage Model (1957)

Meeting with collector Martin Z. Margulies, The Margulies Collection at The Warehouse, Miami

Meeting with collector Carlo F. Bilotti, Palm Beach, Florida

Meeting with painter Mary Pratt, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador; completion of suite of works on paper inspired by the landscapes of the Avalon Peninsula and Bell Island

Theft of two unrecovered Schweitzer collages (Euclid’s Way I, 1988; Euclid’s Way II, 1989) from a private Montreal collection, listed on Art Loss Register, New York

Acquisition of ephemera from The John A. Schweitzer Archive related to Colin S. MacDonald’s A Dictionary of Canadian Artists by the National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives, Ottawa

2005- Representation by Thielsen Galleries, London, Ontario (stable of artists includes Bush, Curnoe, Hassan, Knowles, Ronald, Urquhart, et al.)

2005 Meeting with Chief Curator John Elderfield, Museum of Modern Art, New York

Meeting with painter Robert Rauschenberg, Captiva Island, Florida

Acquisition of Jim Dine’s assemblage-painting, Family (1962)

Completion of series Benjamin’s Alphabet

2004-09 Representation by Monique Knowlton, Miami

2004-06 Representation by Landau Art Contemporain, Montréal; Ian Lumsden, Director

2004- Inauguration of The John A. Schweitzer Gallery and Fonds, Archives and Research Collections Centre, The University of Western Ontario, London

Installation and permanent exhibition of sculptor Henry Moore’s Two-Piece Reclining Figure: Holes, 1975, and Reclining Figure Curved: Smooth, 1976, and Schweitzer’s Anatomy of the Universe, 2001, in The John A. Schweitzer Gallery, The University of Western Ontario, London; gifts of the artist on the occasion of the inauguration of the Gallery in the Archives and Research Collections Centre

2004 Canadian Representative, Schrift und Bild in der modernen Kunst (Words and Images in Modern Art), Kroehlgruppe, Frankfurt, Germany

Meeting with Thomas Messer, Director, Guggenheim Museum, New York


2003 Meeting with critic Karen Wilkin, Williams Club, New York

Personal epiphany viewing Eugene O’Neill’s Long Days Journey Into Night with Vanessa Redgrave, Plymouth Theatre, New York

Acquisition of Arman’s accumulation Paintbox (1971)

Portrait commission by photographer Gabor Szilasi, Montréal

Completion of series Fresh Kills: XXIV Elegies

2002- Election to University Club of Montréal, with partner Robert Poirier, officially the first acknowledged gay couple in the Club’s history of over 100 years

2002 Donation of Of Porphyry:The Serpent in honour of Her Excellency The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada, on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Vice-Regal Tradition in Canada

Meeting with critic Susan Sontag, Montréal

2001-04 Representation by Pesqueira Gallery, Miami

2001 Meeting with painter Jules Olitski, Naples, Florida

Portrait commission by painter Carole P. Freeman, Toronto

Meeting with The New Yorker critic, Adam Gopnik, McGill University, Montréal

Completion of series Lust and Delight

2000 Meeting with Margaret Atwood, author of John A. Schweitzer: Underbrush Man (1997), McGill University, Montréal

1999-2004 Representation by Galerie Christiane Chassay, Montréal (stable of artists includes Adams, Baden, Dutkewych, Jarnuszkiewicz, Laliberté, Morelli, Olson, Radecki, Robert, Whittome, et al.)

1999 Gift of sculptor Henry Moore’s Two-Piece Reclining Figure: Holes, 1975, and Reclining Figure Curved: Smooth, 1976, to The University of Western Ontario, London, on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of his undergraduate alma mater

Acquisition of Robert Goodnough’s collage Red Boat (1964), from the exhibition “American Collages” circulated internationally by the Museum of Modern Art, New York

Meeting with philosopher Mark Kingwell, Lower Canada College, Montréal

Completion of series The Erehwön Cycle

1998-99 Completion of series The Arcadian Suite

1998- Representation by Dr. Joyce Kootz, wife of the late Samuel Kootz, Director of The Kootz Gallery, New York (stable of artists includes Hofmann, Marca-Relli, Picasso, Ronald, Sander, Soulages, et al.)

1998 Completion of series Of Porphyry

1997 Acquisition of David Feist’s collage Janus (1997)

Meeting with architect Albert Frey, Palm Springs, California

Completion of series The Pilgrimage

1995 Artist’s commission of photographers Alain Laforest of the Canadian Centre for Architecture and Richard-Max Tremblay to document his residence and studio at Embassy Row Apartment Building, Montréal, designed by the architect Peter Dickinson [1964]

Meeting with author Anne Carson, Atwater Library, Westmount, Québec

1994 Meeting with The Right Honourable Pierre Elliot Trudeau, Art and Politics, private salon, Embassy Row, Montréal

1993-2010 Meetings with author and historian William Weintraub to discuss the Montréal literary scene of the twentieth-century with Mavis Gallant, Hugo A. McPherson, Brian Moore and Mordecai Richler

1993 Acquisition of archives of Aubert Brillant, owner of the Galerie du Siècle, Montréal

1992- Residential relocation to Embassy Row, Montréal, former Consulate General of Turkey, designed by architect Peter Dickinson and interior design by Mica Ertegun, of MAC II, New York

1992 Meeting with photographer Annie Leibovitz, Montréal

Death of painter Joan Mitchell

1991 Death of painter Robert Motherwell


John A. Schweitzer: The Wizard, portrait commission by photographer Peggy Jarrell Kaplan, New York

Acquisition of archives of Dr. Hugo A. McPherson, Montréal (including Mordecai Richler, Hugh MacLennan, and Canadian Art papers)



John A. Schweitzer as Hunter-Gatherer, portrait commission by photographer Fran Lamothe, New York

Completion of series Sunt Lacrimæ Rerum

1990-91 Exhibition of Hans Hofmann’s Untitled, 1945, gouache on paper, from The John A. Schweitzer Collection, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Center for the Fine Arts, Miami, and The Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, Virginia

1990 Studio visits with literary critic Northrop Frye, Toronto and Montréal

Meeting with critics Robert Hughes and Barbara Rose, introduced by Robert Motherwell, New York

Acquisition of Nancy Haynes’ relief construction Untitled (1981)


Acquisition of Francis Limérat’s assemblage Parke 2 (1980)

1989-91 Studio visits with painter Robert Motherwell, Provincetown, Massachusetts

1989 Meeting with photographer Duane Michals, critic Marco Livingstone and Pierre Théberge, Director, Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, for Mois de la photo exhibition at Galerie John A. Schweitzer, Montréal

Acquisition of two Hans Hofmann paintings of the 1950s

1988 John A. Schweitzer devant “Cercle bleu” [1963] de Claude Tousignant, portrait commission by photographer Richard-Max Tremblay, Montréal

Portrait of John A. Schweitzer, portrait commission by photographer Richard-Max Tremblay, Montréal

1986- Collaboration with biographer, editor/translator and collector Paul Paiement, Montréal

1986-90 Appointment of art historian Denis Lessard as Assistant Director of Galerie John A. Schweitzer, Montréal

1986 Acquisition of archives of Yves Lasnier, Director of Galerie du Siècle, Montréal, and art critic of Le Devoir

Meeting with glass artist Dale Chihuly, Venice, Italy

1985- Collaboration with framer-gallerist Martine Hénault, Montréal

1985 Meeting with Canadian Art critic and National Film Board Chair, Dr. Hugo A. McPherson at Galerie John A. Schweitzer, Montréal

1984 Collaboration with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and Howard Read, Director, Robert Miller Gallery, New York, for inaugural exhibition of Galerie John A. Schweitzer, Montréal

Documentary portrait [with Robert Poirier on Fifth Avenue, New York] by photographer Bill Cunningham, “On the Street,” The New York Times

1983 Acquisition of archives of painter Lise Gervais, Montréal

Meeting with architect Arthur Erickson, Montréal

1982 Meeting with collagist Benny Andrews, Director of Visual Arts Program, National Endowment for the Arts, New York

Meeting with artist Gordon Smith, Montréal

1981 Acquisition of Sir Anthony Caro’s construction Valance (1981)

Meeting with author Mary McCarthy, McGill University, Montréal

1980- Post-graduate studies in twentieth-century architecture, film, literature and theatre, McGill University, Montréal

1979 Visits of artist’s studios by critic Clement Greenberg, Toronto and New York

Attempted assassination of artist and his partner Robert Poirier, Il Giardino Restaurant, Vancouver

Post-graduate studies in modern art with Professor Meyer Schapiro, Columbia University, New York

Meeting with Thomas M. Messer, Director, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York

1978-79 Destruction of all but “major” works by artist in regretful act of editing his œuvre in anticipation of his relocation to Europe

1978 Master of Fine Arts, Painting, York University, Toronto, with British sculptor Sir Anthony Caro, Canadian interdisciplinary artist Vera Frenkel, American sculptor Tim Whiten, British painter John Wilkinson, and art historian Dr. Theodore Heinrich; thesis Malevich’s “Black Square” and the Fourth Dimension

Visits of artist’s studio by Sir Anthony Caro, Toronto

Meeting of life partner Robert Poirier, Vancouver


  1. Meeting with Martha Jackson, Director, Martha Jackson Gallery, New York

Portrait commission by photographer Les Krims, Buffalo, N.Y.

Meeting with Leo Castelli, Director, Leo Castelli Gallery, New York

Completion of The Solfeggio Suite

1976-77 Completion of series The Conjunction Series



  1. Meeting with Diana Vreeland, The Costume Institute, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Documentary portrait [with Louise Nevelson, The Costume Institute Benefit, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York] by photographer Bill Cunningham, “Evening Hours,” The New York Times

Visit of Louise Nevelson’s studio, New York

1975 Meeting with André Emmerich, Director, André Emmerich Gallery, New York and Zürich, on occasion of acquisition of three paintings (1963) by Hans Hofmann

1974-75 Completion of series The Preposition Series

1974 Bachelor of Arts, Honours Visual Arts, summa cum laude, The University of Western Ontario, London, with Paterson Ewen and Tony Urquhart; seminars conducted by Gregory Battcock, Bryan Key, Les Levine, Ron Martin, Michael Ondaatje, Royden Rabinowitch, Lucas Samaras and Krzysztof Wodiczko; thesis Robert Motherwell and the Window

Viewing of Robert Motherwell’s Open Series exhibition, David Mirvish Gallery, Toronto

Meeting with James Fitzsimmons, editor, Art International, Lugano, Switzerland, to acquire works by Frankenthaler, Hofmann, Motherwell, Natkin and Stamos, commissioned for the covers of the art journal

Acquisition of Robert Motherwell’s Open 174, In Red with Blue Stripes (1970) [catalogue raisonné, 2012], first work in his private collection of New York School artists

Meeting with author Alice Munro, The University of Western Ontario, London

Meeting with Jack Bush, Toronto; acquisition of painting York Banner (1965) [catalogue raisonné, 2014]

1973-76 Production of series of post-structuralist films

1973 Meeting with author Margaret Laurence, The University of Western Ontario, London

Death of Pablo Picasso

1970 Rhodes Scholar nomination by Dr. Donald Hair, Faculty of Arts, The University of Western Ontario, London

Sale of first painting On the Lam (1970) to secondary school English teacher, Marion Dowds, Port Dover, Ontario

Death of Mark Rothko

Film studies with Professor Philippa Cranston, The University of Western Ontario, London, who introduced Schweitzer to film theory and criticism, with emphasis upon auteur theory of Andrew Sarris as exemplified by the works of Ingmar Bergman, Alfred Hitchcock and the French Nouvelle Vague

1969 Death of John Stefan Schweitzer, father of the artist

1968-73 Inspirational viewing of films, such as Rosemary’s Baby [1968], Sunday Bloody Sunday [1971] and Last Tango in Paris [1973], together with films by auteur-directors Michelangelo Antonioni, Ingmar Bergman, Federico Fellini, Alfred Hitchcock and Pier Paolo Pasolini

1965-70 Delhi District Secondary School, Delhi, Ontario; honour roll (1965-1970), student council representative (1966), publicity director (1968), yearbook committee member (1969-1970), geography award recipient (1970)

1963-71 Independent studies: drama, organ, piano, violin, voice; solo vocal performances of classical and popular music, including Mancini’s Moon River (1965), Schubert’s Ave Maria (1966), and Franck’s Panis Angelicus (1967), together with theatrical performances as both actor and director, such as Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part I (1969), at various cultural, educational and religious venues in Southwestern Ontario

1962 First Prize (Silver Cup), Public Speaking Contest, Royal Canadian Legion, Port Rowan, Ontario

1961 Second Prize (Blue Ribbon), Elementary School Art Competition, Norfolk County Fair, Simcoe, Ontario [Of the First Prize recipient, Schweitzer retorts, “That’s not art; that’s illustration!”]

1960-70 Immersion in weekly issues of his parents’ subscription of topical Look magazine, tempered by more conventional Life magazine at his grand-parents’, together with The New Yorker, reserved for the artist by his dentist’s wife, Mrs. John Brown [née Nancy Harrar], one-time colleague of humourist James Thurber at the magazine’s Manhattan office

1960 Christmas gift of Learn to Draw with Jon Gnagy from parents

1958-65 North Walsingham Public School, Langton, Ontario: first “consolidated” school in Ontario, as well as first elementary school to transport students by bus shuttle, founded in 1947 and now renamed Langton Public School; the modern Ontario school system owing its existence to Egerton Ryerson (1803-1882)

1954 Death of Henri Matisse

1952-60 “Proustian” childhood in a country house facing a cemetery, adjacent to a forest [“of Arden,” as the artist prefers to call it]; a solitary, interiorized world of the imagination, perhaps the genius loci which fostered his binary fixation on eros and thanatos

1952 Creation of Mountains and Sea by painter Helen Frankenthaler


Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, “Monarch of the Dominion of Canada”

First broadcast of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) / Société Radio-Canada (SRC)


Birth of John Andrew, middle child with two sisters: elder, Mary Theresa, and younger, Catherine Anne; to parents Elizabeth (Zei) and John Stefan Schweitzer: Mother, amateur painter; Father, amateur violinist
Awards AND DISTINCTIONS
2014 Honorary Life Membership, St. James Literary Society, Montréal

2013 Inauguration, Espace Poirier Schweitzer Space, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto


Prix Renoir, Annexe Communications, Montréal

2012 Inauguration, La Galerie John A. Schweitzer, Osler Library of the History of Medicine, McGill University, Montréal

Eminent Fellow, Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, Montréal

Honorary Life Membership, Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, Toronto

Honorary Life Membership, Ontario Society of Artists, Toronto

2011 Doctor of Laws degree, honoris causa, Arts and Humanities, The University of Western Ontario, London

Deans’ Circle, McGill University, Montréal

Lifetime Artistic Achievement Citation, McIntosh Gallery, The University of Western Ontario, London

2010 Induction, Friends of the Osler Library of the History of Medicine, McGill University, Montréal

Honorary Ex-libris, The John A. Schweitzer Donation, Western Libraries, The University of Western Ontario, London

2009- Honorary Chair ex officio, Board of Trustees, The John A. Schweitzer Gallery, Archives and Research Collections Centre, The University of Western Ontario, London

2009 Archives Association of Ontario Award, The John A. Schweitzer Gallery, Archives and Research Collections Centre, The University of Western Ontario, London

Commemorative Chair, Paul Davenport Theatre, London, Ontario

Honorary Designation, National Living Treasure, The University of Western Ontario, London

2007 Research Fellowship, Bodleian Library, Oxford University, England

2006- Induction, Ontario Society of Artists, Toronto

2006 Provincial Citation for Philanthropy, Lise Thibault, Lieutenant Governor, Québec

Calder Conservation Award for architectural activism, with DOCOMOMO Québec, Héritage Montréal

2005 Donor Wall, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

National Citation for Philanthropy, Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada, Ottawa

Silver Medal, International Art Publications, Stuttgart, Germany


Erste Stelle (First Place), Norddeutsche Landesbank, Hanover, Germany

Best of Ottawa 10, “Ottawa Xpress”, Ottawa

2004- Inauguration, The John A. Schweitzer Gallery [Diamond + Schmitt Architects], a study centre of the artist’s life and work, Archives and Research Collections Centre, The University of Western Ontario, London; in addition to regularly curated exhibitions of Schweitzer’s œuvre and collections (including Anatomy of the Universe [2001] and Henry Moore sculptures on permanent view), hosting of temporary exhibitions such as first editions of John Milton and H.G. Wells, nineteenth- and twentieth- century architectural drawings and Canadian war posters

Helen M.B. Allison Legacies Society, The University of Western Ontario, London

Chancellor’s Circle, Université de Montréal, Montréal

2004 Research Fellowship, Bibliothèque nationale and La Sorbonne, Paris

2003- Induction, The Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, Toronto

2003 The University of Western Ontario Purple and White Award, for philanthropy and community service, in recognition of outstanding alumni achievement and service to The University of Western Ontario and the Montreal community, sponsored by Power Corporation, Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, Montréal

Lust and Delight, exhibition at the Galerie Christiane Chassay, Montréal, supported by the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec, Québec

Tableau d’honneur, Grand Hall of the Main Pavilion, Université de Montréal, Montréal




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