Born in Dublin in 1943, of an Austrian father and Irish mother, the Schwatschke family lived in Carlow for over fifty years. John Schwatschke studied Art and Architecture in Dublin and Munich and originally made his name as a portrait painter, painting various heads of state, royalty and film stars, including Ingrid Bergman, Robert Mitchum, Harold Robbins, the Duke of Edinburgh and Eamon de Valera to name but a few. Having worked in Saudi Arabia, he kept an art studio in Provence in the 1970ís, where he was a neighbour of Picasso, and Le Musee Schwatschke was established in 1981, being situated in Carlow until 1994, while his work was promoted by noted Paris dealer Iris Clert. He later moved his studio to Santa Barbara, before finally returning to Ireland. Schwatschke is also well known for his caricature paintings, which as works of art, are always personal and somehow universal.