Gary Schwartz was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1940. He studied art history at New York University and Johns Hopkins University between 1956 and 1965. In 1965 he was granted a Kress Fellowship to the Netherlands, where he stayed. He has been active as a translator, editor and publisher; scholar, teacher, lecturer and writer; and as the founder of CODART, an international network organization for curators of Dutch and Flemish art.
Among his publications are standard works on Rembrandt and Pieter Saenredam, as well as more than 500 articles in the press, in scholarly journals and on his Internet column, the Schwartzlist. Schwartz is a fellow of the Getty Center and the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies and the bearer of the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Prize for the Humanities.