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 Johann Schmitt  (1825 - 1898)

About: Johann Schmitt


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Lived/Active: Ohio/Kentucky      Known for: altar painting, teaching

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
"A noted church painter who worked throughout the Midwest during the last half of the 19th Century, Johann Schmitt was born on November 17, 1825 in Heinstadt, Baden.  As a young man, Schmitt received training in the fine arts in Munich.  His talent was quickly recognized by the leading religious painters of that city.  The United States offered more opportunities for religious painters than Schmitt’s native Germany.  Hundreds of thousands of Germans were immigrating to the United States. These Germans were establishing parishes, convents and monasteries in the new world and they needed religious art.  Schmitt made the decision to immigrate in the 1850s.  He initially settled in New York City where he met his future wife, Margaret Reichert, also a German immigrant.

Among Schmitt’s earliest commissions in New York was to produce murals for the Church of St. Alphonse in New York.  The completed murals drew great praise.  In 1862, Schmitt was drawn to the Cincinnati area.  Cincinnati had become a center of German American culture and art.  Schmitt immediately found work in the Covington Altar Building Stock Company (sometimes called the Institute of Catholic Art) at St. Joseph Church in Covington. 

While at the Catholic Art Institute, Schmitt provided training for one of Covington’s most celebrated artists, Frank Duveneck.  Johann Schmitt spent the rest of his life producing art for churches throughout the Midwest. Among his most celebrated works were commissioned by local parishes. He completed two large murals for the Church of St. Joseph at the northwest corner of 12th and Greenup Streets in Covington. These murals depicted the death of St. Joseph and St. Joseph as the protector of the universal Church. The later mural was a copy of an original that was donated to Pope Leo XIII. Schmitt also produced five murals for the old St. John Church in Covington.

Johann Schmitt died at the age of 72 on June 10, 1898.

Excerpted from the website of the Kenton County Public Library

The website source is: I Diomede Pohlkamp O.F.M., A Franciscan Artist in Kentucky: Life of Artist Johann Schmitt 1825-1898 (St. Bonaventure, NY: 1947); Kentucky Post, December 27, 1897, p. 5 and June 10, 1898, p. 5.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Johann Schmitt was born in 1825 and died in 1898.  He lived and worked from Covington, Kentucky.  Johann Schmitt was the 3rd husband of Elizabeth (nee) Scheper (no known children)

Johann Schmitt was a mentor and instructor of Frank Duvenek.  He is reputed to have a painting in the Vatican collection.

Submitted by  Tim Neville (Johann Schmitt was his grandmother?'s step-father)

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