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In 1913 William Schwartz immigrated to the United States from Smorgon, Russia, believing America offered the most favorable opportunities for artists.  He stayed first with family in New York City, then in Omaha, Nebraska, but in 1916 Schwartz relocated to Chicago.  While a student at the Art Institute of Chicago he was inspired by its exhibitions of vanguard art, including the paintings of Wassily Kandinsky.  In his own work, however, Schwartz adapted the detail and clarity of the Modernist image while retaining natural forms. 

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