Wilhelm Friedrich Johann Schwar (1860-1943, German) was born in Munster, Westphalia. In his youth, he discovered his passion for art and painting and soon moved to Munich where he studied at the Künstlerhochburg. He began to exhibit his genre works in 1890. He met the cat artist Julius Adam, as they were neighbors in the art commune. Perhaps influenced by Adam, he turned his attention to solely portraying animals and in particular cats. Cats had become a popular subject for artists because they sold well and many artists who painted cats at the time were successful, such as Louis Eugène Lambert, Henriette Ronner-Knip, Louis Wain, Thèophile Alexandre Steinlen, Henry Dolph and Carl Kahler.
Schwar’s exacting and realistic style is distinct. His cats, while seemingly relaxed, are highly detailed and remain popular on today’s auction sites.
However, after WWI cat paintings began to become less popular and Schwar faced financial problems. Wilhelm Schwar died a forgotten artist in 1943 at age 83.