Born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1850, Schwartz entered the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts where he studied for six years. Following an 1878 painting trip to Spain with fellow artists, Schwartz founded a private art school.
In later years he received important commissions for monumental wall and ceiling decorations in Frederiksborg Castle and the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. In addition to large altar paintings Schwartz was commissioned to paint a mural of The Wise and Foolish Virgins for the Soldenfeldt Foundation, considered by many his greatest work.
When he died in 1917, Frans Schwartz donated his entire fortune towards a scholarship for the artistic enhancement of Copenhagen’s public buildings.