Born in Denver in 1918, June Schwarcz studied industrial design at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn from 1939 to 1941. After working in the New York fashion and design industries for a brief period, she married in 1943. She moved several times with her husband and two children before settling in Sausalito, California in 1954. While staying with family in Denver in 1953, Schwarcz was introduced to enameling by Terry Touff, a former student of the Cleveland-based enamelist Kenneth F. Bates. Schwarcz was immediately drawn to the medium’s brilliant color as well as its expressive potential.
In her earliest work, Schwarcz utilized basse-taille enameling techniques, cutting and etching into the surface of the copper plate to create complex, abstract compositions visible through layers of transparent enamel. However, about 1962 she began to use electroforming to create unique copper vessels which she subsequently enameled. Over time her open vessel forms evolved to become pure sculpture, defying their utilitarian foundations. In this mature work, the raw quality of the electroformed metal offers a strong contrast to the brilliant color and smooth glassy surface of the enamel.
For over fifty years, Schwarcz has continued to invent new forms in metal. At 93 years old, she is considered one of the foremost figures in the field of postwar American enameling. She lives in Sausalito.