PHILADELPHIA, PENN. — Marie Devlin Schwarz, 93, of Atlantic City, N.J., and Philadelphia died with her characteristic grace on June 13 at her home on Rittenhouse Square. Marie began working immediately after graduating Atlantic City High. Earliest known for her fur-modeling career at Alexander’s in Atlantic City, she had lost her mother at an early age, compelling her to fend for herself at a young age.
In 1940, she eloped at the age of 19 with the established man-about-town and antiques dealer Frank S. Schwarz. Soon thereafter, the couple relocated to Philadelphia, bringing with them Frank’s business, then known as Frank S. Schwarz Antiques, as well as newborn twin sons.
In 1961, after Richard, Robert and daughter Frances were grown, Marie joined her husband and began managing and representing the business. Paintings became the focus in the 1960s when Marie’s son Robert joined the firm. Accordingly, the firm was renamed the Schwarz Gallery.
Upon the death of her husband Frank in 1985, Marie named her son Robert as president of the Schwarz Gallery. Working alongside her son as executive vice president, Marie continued to commit considerable personal energy supporting the gallery’s focus on Nineteenth–Twentieth Century American and European paintings. Today, under the third generation leadership of Robert Jr, the gallery continues to flourish from its historic location in downtown Philadelphia.
Marie gave unselfishly of her time and ability in service to the community. She was a member of the Women’s Board of Jefferson Hospital, and served for several years as the president of the Emergency Aid Society of Philadelphia. Through Philadelphia Hospitality, she hosted national and international museum groups, business associations and visitors from throughout the United States and Europe at both her center-city home and the Schwarz Gallery.
She was on the board of the American Cancer Society, Inglis House and Friends of Rittenhouse Square, and had been an active member of the Associates Committee for the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She generously supported several organizations, including the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Opera Guild, University of the Arts and Settlement Music School.
Marie is survived by two children: Richard Devlin Schwarz, twin brother to the late Robert, and Frances S. Echague of Madrid. Her seven grandchildren are Ana Olalquiaga, Robert and Jonathan Schwarz, Elizabeth Schechter; Timothy, Ethan and Jeanne-Marie Schwarz; and she has five great-grandchildren: Claudia and Tomas Olalquiaga, Nicholas and Derek Schwarz, and Samuel Schechter.
The family asks that memorial donations be made to Chelsea Baptist Church, 2908 Atlantic Avenue, Atlantic City NJ 08401, where Marie’s mother was the organist.
A memorial service date is to be determined.