Samuel Levi (Mommie) Schwarz
28.07.1867 (Zutphen, The Netherlands) - 19.11.1942 (Auschwitz, Poland)
Samuel Levi ‘Mommie’ Schwarz received his artistic training at the Academy of Arts in Antwerp and travelled frequently after his training. He lived in New York for a while and worked several years in Madrid. In 1905 he went to Berlin, probably attracted by German Expressionism, where he met his future wife and artist Else Berg. Mommie and Else were avid travellers; they visited Spain, Italy, France, Turkey and the former Yugoslavia. Mommie’s work from that time depicts landscapes, portraits and still lifes in somber tones. In 1915 Mommie and Else moved to Schoorl, near Bergen. The so-called ‘Bergense School’ that was active here was comprised of a group of painters who worked in an expressionistic style with cubist influences and dark tones. Mommie's work is aligned with this style. Mommie drew, painted and made watercolours during his life, but also designed bookbindings and worked regularly as a graphic artist for magazines. Mommie and Else were both of Jewish descent - although Mommie broke all ties with Judaism - but during the war they refused to go into hiding or wear a Jewish star on their clothing. On November 12th, 1942, they were arrested and deported via Westerbork to the German concentration camp Auschwitz. Here they were killed on November 19th, 1942.