San Francisco Bay Area artist Cynthia Schuman’s passion for art was the guiding light of her life. She found joy in painting when she was very young and went on to study art at Stanford University.
After a brief period designing in the fashion industry, Cynthia launched a successful career painting portraits of well known San Franciscans and was commissioned to paint Jesse Jackson, Walter Mondale and Gary Hart who were the three Democratic presidential candidates in 1984. The paintings were hung in the VIP lounge at the Democratic convention at San Francisco’s Moscone Center.
From portraiture came a great desire to explore abstract art, to free herself of constraints and paint with large, expansive strokes. The canvases got bigger, many 6’x6’, with sweeping color and movement. With the encouragement of Stanford Professor Emeritus Albert Elsen, she immersed into the field of abstract art. One of these large canvases was presented to Mikail Gorbachev by Cynthia in 1990 when he was visiting Stanford. It now hangs in a museum in Moscow.
A chance incident led to the pouring of enamel. To that paint she added crushed crystal forming thick textured surfaces. It was during this period that she saw an extraordinary black opal in the window of Cartier in New York. The desire to replicate that opal sent her in search of a new translucent medium that would reflect and absorb light. That goal is still challenging.
Schuman's art has been exhibited in major galleries throughout the Bay Area, including three one woman shows at Harcourt's Gallery, two solo shows at 1212 Gallerie on the peninsula, and most recently a solo exhibit at the SFMOMA Cafe. She is presently represented by SFMOMA Artists' Gallery. Schuman was the subject of cover articles in CITY WOMAN and GENTRY describing her path to abstract expressionism.
Cynthia Schuman passed away on December 16, 2021 at the age of 86.