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 Marius Schmidt  (1868 - 1938)

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Lived/Active: California / Denmark      Known for: mission and floral landscape, still-life

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Marius Schmidt
An example of work by Marius Smith
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following is from Ted Bryla, a collector of work by Marius Schmidt. Bryla credits an autobiographical fact sheet, signed by the artist and attached to one of his paintings.

Born Kolding, Denmark 1868, Marius Schmidt showed a natural affinity for art from his mother's family, and by the age of four was "drawing with a natural facility." His father discouraged his artistic talents and when Marius was 12, his father sent him to live with his Uncle in the USA. His Uncle appreciated and encouraged his ability and later sent him to Denmark to study under Jorgensen of Copenhagen and Moller, with whom he studied three years.

Upon returning to America, he settled in California where he painted "for many years the wildflowers and scenery of Northern and Southern California; the redwoods, desert, and many of our beautiful missions and gardens throughout the state. . . . Among his most famous and noted paintings are 'Capistrano Mission and Gardens' and 'Ramona's Marriage Place.' "

After several years of collecting the art of Marius Schmidt, I observe that there seems to be a preponderance of Still Life Florals by him in the market place. It seems that that subject is what sold for him, and that's what he did to make a living. It also seems that he painted on whatever came to hand, which leads me to believe he wasn't making a lot of money painting.

In collecting his work I have come across three distinct styles or periods of work. The first I describe as 19th century European Realism; the Second is Impressionism. The third style is what I would term California Impressionism, where he adopts a more commercial style. It is also in this period that a large number of Floral paintings begin to appear. (Jeff Moran of Moran Auction House in California said that Schmidt's watercolor style is reminiscent of Gunnar Widforss).

Paintings in the categories of the first two styles are signed Marius Schmidt, but after 1917, he moved to Southern California where his work is signed Marius Smith, a name change due to anti-German sentiment during World War 1.

Marius Schmidt was known to have lived and painted in the Laguna Beach area and passed away in 1938.
Marius Schmidt was a resident of Oakland, California between 1909 and 1917. In both watercolor and oil, he painted coastal views, landscapes, and San Francisco bay area scenes. He exhibited at the San Francisco Art Association.

Source: Edan Hughes, ARTISTS IN CALIFORNIA 1786-1940

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Marius Schmidt was born in Kalding, Denmark on June 9, 1868.  As a young man Schmidt worked in the postal service in Copenhagen while studying painting with Möller and Jorgensen.  His family’s opposition to an art career led him to America in 1886.  Two years later he settled in San Francisco and began painting prolifically.  After the earthquake of 1906, he moved across the bay to Oakland where he worked as an interior decorator.   He settled in Laguna Beach in 1924 and established a studio.  Due to anti-German sentiment, he then anglicized his name to Smith.  During 1932 he lived in a forest ranger’s station in San Juan Capistrano.  Schmidt became a competent painter of coastals, landscapes, floral still lifes, scenes of the San Francisco Bay area and Laguna.  The artist died in Los Angeles on Dec. 4, 1938. 

Exh:  SFAA, 1917-18; Woman’s Club (Hollywood), 1920; Laguna Beach Garden Club, 1930; Laguna Beach AA, 1931; Bank of America (Laguna Beach), 1938. 

In:  Orange County (CA) Museum.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
City Directory; Interview with artist or his/her family; Death Record
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

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