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Meet Susan Schwalb

Today we’d like to introduce you to Susan Schwalb.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Susan. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I wanted to be an artist ever since I was around 5 years old. I went to the HS of Music and Art, NYC and Carnegie-Mellon University. I was always interested in drawing and discover silverpoint in 1974, and within a year it became my primary medium. I recently had a retrospective of my work entitled “A Luminous Line: Forty Years of Metalpoint Drawing by Susan Schwalb” held at the Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock. It covered my work as it developed from a series entitled “Orchids and Other Flowers” through works where I burnt the paper to work that combined silverpoint with gold leaf and acrylic. In 1996 I began my Strata Series which I worked on until 2010 when my work evolved into a more linear image.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Begin an artist isn’t an easy life, there are many rejections along the way as one struggles to make the work and trying to exhibit it and sell it. I had financial problems doing a day job as a graphic designer and making drawings at all other times. When I began to teach part-time in 1978. By the early 1980’s I met my husband at Yaddo and marrying with two incomes made life easier. I built my career myself with the help and support of fellow artists. I am currently considered one of the most important artists in silverpoint drawing.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Silverpoint drawing is a Renaissance technique using silver and other metals drawing on specially prepared grounds. My work has ranged from image-based to currently reductive abstraction. My oeuvre ranges from drawings and artist books on paper to paintings on canvas or wood panels. Her work is represented in most of the major public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the National Gallery, Washington DC, The British Museum, London, The Brooklyn Museum, NY, The Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Kupferstichkabinett – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Germany, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, England, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX, The Achenbach Foundation of Graphic Arts at the de Young and the Legion of Honor Museums, San Francisco, The Library of Congress, Washington, DC, The Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT, Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art, The National September 11 Memorial and Museum, New York, NY, The Columbus Museum, Columbus, GA, Evansville Museum of Art and Science, the Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, AK and The Israel Museum, Jerusalem.

A technique book “Silverpoint and Metalpoint Drawing: A Complete Guide to the Medium” by Susan Schwalb and Tom Mazzullo will be published in Dec. 2018 by Routledge in the UK. I have attached the cover. This is a link to the book

It is the first technique book ever published on silverpoint drawing.

What were you like growing up?
I grew up in the Bronx, NY and was always interested in art.


  • My work ranges in price from $500 to 10,000.oo.

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Email:
  • Instagram: susan.schwalb
  • Facebook: susanschwalb

Getting in touch: BostonVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Gloria Orenstein

    September 5, 2018 at 8:05 am

    I thank you Boston Voyager for profiling Susan Schwalb and her amazing art. I have known her since the hard early days, so i can testify that it has not been easy. But Susan is undaunted. If we walked all over NY looking for a gallery in the 70’s, and if nothing materialized, Susan was up and out back on the hunt the next day. She is very focused. she had to swim every single day and see art every day or the day was not productive . She was completely faithful to the way in which the swimming and the art viewing and creating combined to support her body, strength and spirit in harmony. She is like a warrior on the move. Maybe the use of metals (silverpoint, gold point, etc.) protects her as she forges her way. People think that art is easy, but I think of it as a very athletic endeavor, and I am just blown away at how she has created her own niche with the silverpoint works and how her work has found its way into major museums all over the world. I like to write about these two aspects–one pounding the pavement in the 70’s and two–the blossoming of a beautiful career in the 2,000’s. One has to see the entire arc of a career and know what energy it took to persevere at a time when women were excluded But susan was a warrior for women artists in the feminist arenas as well. she was the Art representative to the Houston conference in 1977. She is a warrior, now displaying the metal of her strength and her creative power.

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