Raphaël Schwartz

1874 1942
(Ukraine) 1874 /   (France) 1942


KIEV (UKRAINE) 1874 – PARIS 1942

Raphaël Schwartz arrived in Paris very early, in 1892. He married a French aristocrat and settled in villa des Ternes. His friend, the sculptor Jacob Loutchansky, described him as a distinguished man who had a great sense of humor and an active social life.

In 1912, he produced a series of portraits of André Gide, Anatole France, Emile Verhaeren, Auguste Rodin, Henri Bergson and his friends Claude Debussy and the mathematician Henri Poincaré. These portraits are gathered in a work entitled Quelques hommes (some men) which was prefaced by Anatole France. A hundred copies of this work were printed.

During World War I, he adopted war orphans and was awarded the Legion of Honor. He abandoned the idea to be naturalized.


He was in Paris when World War II broke out. In 1940, his friend and neighbor Lucie Wormser offered him to come meet her in the Zone Libre (free zone). As he was depressed, he refused her offer and committed suicide on 3 August 1942. He hung himself with his yellow badge pinned to his clothes. A few days later, Gestapo agents came to his home to arrest him. The janitor told them: “It is too late…”. In his will, he bequeathed his estate to an association for the poor of Paris.