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 Paul Anton Schmitt  (1893 - 1983)

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Lived/Active: California      Known for: landscape, missions, illustrations, mural

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Ad Code: 4
Paul Anton Schmitt
from Auction House Records.
Mission San Luis Rey
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following biography is provided by Theresa Schmitt, daughter of the artist, September 2003.

Painter, watercolorist, illustrator and teacher, Paul Schmitt was born in Philadelphia, in 1893 and moved to San Francisco in 1898 where he lived until the 1906 earthquake took his family home. He then moved to the Fruitvale district of Oakland. He died of natural causes at the age of 90 in San Leandro, California.

Paul Schmitt studied under Perham Wilhelm Nahl, at the California College of Arts and Crafts. He also learned various crafts, woodworking and carving skills from his father, Herman Schmitt, a German wood carver working in San Francisco. Herman's works are still found in various San Francisco public buildings including the city hall chambers and the garden court of the Palace Hotel.

Schmitt joined twelve other local San Francisco artists to form the group called "The Thirteen Watercolorists", a group that eventually evolved into the Society of Western Artists. Their early members included Alfred Owles, Will Cameron, Maurice Logan, Maynard Dixon and many others. Paul worked with engineers and architects doing models of many projects. He was versatile in that he also did illustrations for various publications and advertisers.

He fathered thirteen children. In the late 1930's he decided to accept a teaching position in the local adult schools where he retired in his eighties.

Paul was very fond of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and yearly took his large family there on camping /sketching trips. He did a series of oils of the California missions. He also traveled extensively on sketching trips including Mexico where he did a series of Mexican churches. His love of the mountains was reminiscent of stories of his ancestral Austria. Many of his best-loved paintings are of mountain scenes. His children include three artists, Mari Matto, of Fremont, CA."Schatz" Robideaux, of San Leandro, CA. and the late Ray Schmitt, of Hayward, Ca.

His work was exhibited in several San Francisco galleries, including De Young, and in the Chicago World's Fair, and New York. His murals are in various California churches and public buildings. At present the Oakland Museum California History room has a permanent display of his painting called "Pipe City" which depicts the depression era encampment of homeless people living in large cement pipes in Oakland.

Biography from Crocker Art Museum Store:
Painter, illustrator, muralist. Born in Philadelphia, PA on March 11, 1893, the son of woodcarver Hermann Schmitt. Raised in an artistic milieu, the younger Schmitt began painting watercolors as a child. When he was ten, the family moved to San Francisco and lived in a house on Turk Street until it burned in the earthquake and fire of 1906. After settling across the bay in Fruitvale, he remained a resident of the San Francisco Bay area for the rest of his life. While in his teens, Schmitt worked as a sign painter and studied at the CSFA and CCAC.

During the 1930s he was sought after as a commercial artist for various publications while painting watercolors and oils of the area around his home. He began building small boats for his 13 children and from that activity became a miniature yacht builder. Schmitt died in San Leandro on May 14, 1983.

Member: Alameda AA; Society for Sanity in Art; Natl WC Society; Bay Region AA; Oakland AA; AAPL; Hayward AA; Berkeley Art League; SWA (cofounder). Exh: Oakland Art Gallery, 192736 (prizes); Berkeley Art League, 1928-30; Sacramento State Fair, 1931, 1938; Santa Cruz Art League, 1934; Nat'l WC Society (Chicago), 1938 (award); GGIE, 1940; SFMA, 1940; CPLH, 1944; Alameda Public Library, 1954 (solo); Hotel Alameda, 1956 (solo); San Leandro Festival, 1975. In: St Mary's College (Moraga); NatI Maritime Museum (SF); Oakland Museum; St Elizabeth's Church, Oakland (six murals). lnvw; CSL; WWAA 1936-41; AAW; SF Chronicle, 5-17-1983 (obit).
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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