A Biographical Sketch
Susan Schary is
a world-renowned artist whose lushly painted and realistic images have been
gracing the walls of private collectors as well as institutions throughout the world for
more than forty years. Her portraits hang in universities, Judges' chambers,
courthouses, businesses and private homes which span the country and cross the seas to
Europe, Japan and Saudi Arabia. She also has another specialty that no other painter
can equal or surpass, that of a Courtroom Artist.
began seriously drawing at the age of three and commenced her formal art education at age
eight. Her youth was spent studying art at many different Philadelphia art
institutions such as the Museum School of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Art Museum and
Fleisher Art Memorial. During high school, the well-known artist and educator, Jack
Bookbinder, took her under his wing, teaching her privately and at age seventeen, Schary
began private study with the great Russian artist, Vladimir Shatalov.
artistic interests included both the dramatic and vocal arts, with a passion for operatic
singing. She was led to New York City in 1956 to the Neighborhood Playhouse where
she actively pursued a course of study with well-known drama teacher, the late Sanford
Meisner, and the now successful Hollywood director, Sydney Pollack, with such illustrious
classmates as Robert Duval and Suzanne Pleschette.
strongly that she really needed to "serve one master," Schary returned to her
Philadelphia studio, painting on her own for two years. At twenty-two, she enrolled
at the Tyler School of Fine Art of Temple University with a scholarship from Dean Boris
Blai, where she earned the Dean's Prize for Painting at the Student Exhibition in 1957,
and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, cum laude, in 1960. Upon graduation,
Philadelphia artist and head of Harcum Junior College Art Department, Martin Zipin,
offered Susan Schary a position as his Assistant Professor where she taught for two years.
1964, Schary left her teaching position at Harcum to pursue her own personal development
in painting and traveled to Florence, Italy where she remained for nearly a year,
immersing herself in the magnificent omnipresent Renaissance art of Italy.
she returned to Philadelphia, Schary painted, exhibited and was on the Faculty of Fleisher
Art Memorial, where she was awarded the B.W. Gottlieb Memorial Prize for her work at a
change and a fresh perspective, Schary moved to Los Angeles in 1967 to reconnect with her
family who was involved with movie production, including her uncle Dore Schary. She
remained in California for eighteen years, exploring a broad range of themes in her
painting, including many portrait commissions, and exhibiting her work frequently.
opportunity arose in 1980 for Schary to travel to Saudi Arabia where she found a new and
very different source of inspiration. The Saudi culture and extraordinary landscape
provided Schary with a new frame of reference for her work, creating a palette filled with
colors and textures of an ancient society living in the modern world. Schary lived
there for eighteen months both exhibiting her work and painting many portraits, including
some members of the Royal Family.
after she returned to California, Schary decided to travel east for a brief stint in New
England before she ultimately returned home to Philadelphia in 1987. Aside from her
paintings and exhibits, she embarked upon a new venture into the arena of courtroom art
and since her entry into the field, has become the area's foremost courtroom artist.
has received numerous awards and honors from Philadelphia area institutions and city
departments, including an Award of Honor from the Tyler Alumni Association for her
contributions in her field and was given a thirty-five year retrospective exhibition held
at Temple University in 1993. She also received an Award of Honor from the
Philadelphia Police Department, Homicide Division in 1994 for her generosity and portrait
contributions to the fallen victims of crime.
Schary's return, she has had several one-woman exhibits and numerous high profile portrait
commissions. She plans on remaining in Philadelphia. Schary has two daughters,
Jennifer and Karima, and two grandchildren, Dylan and Jordan.