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 Samuel Loren Schmucker  (1879 - 1921)

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Lived/Active: Pennsylvania      Known for: painting and illustration

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Samuel Loren Schmucker was born February 20, 1879, in Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania, and died of heart failure on September 4, 1921, at Southold, Long Island. His one great passion was art even though his right hand had been crippled from polio in childhood. Samuel adopted a clawlike grip to draw and paint, holding the pencil or brush between his right index and second finger, with all movement coming from his arm.

Schmucker was enrolled in drawing and painting classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1897-98 and 1898-99 and at the Howard Pyle Institute at Drexel from 1899-1900.  He is recognized by most as the finest and most collectible American postcard artist from the Golden Age of postcards, circa 1898-1915.

Schmucker submitted at least ninety-five paintings (goucahe, watercolor, and ink over drawings) to the Detroit Publishing Company (DPC) circa 1905-06. The DPC published fifty-two of these designs in eight sets as postcards in 1907.  Eighty-eight of these paintings were discovered in 1995-96 in Montana and Utah.  This is the largest collection of original postcard art from the Golden Age known to exist.  Twenty-two of these paintings were sold at auction at Jackson's Auctions in Cedar Falls, IA in November 2005 and August 2006.

One of Schmucker's classmates at the Howard Pyle Institute at Drexel in 1899-1900 was Jessie Willcox Smith.  Smith influenced Schmucker's images of children. This is obvious in The Childhood Days set of six images issued by the DPC as postcards in 1907.  This set closely resembles a set of images Smith did for Scribner's in 1903.  Schmucker's other classmates and associates included Maxfield Parrish, N. C. Wyeth, Frank Schoonover, and Stanley Arthurs.

Schmucker worked as a illustrator for the John Winsch Company from 1909-1915. He submitted a large number of seasonal greeting designs that Winsch published as postcards. The original artwork for these postcards were sent to Germany to be printed.  Two other postcard publishing companies that published his designs were Raphael Tuck and Sons of London and the International Postcard Company of New York.  None of these works have survived.

Submitted February 2007 by Jack Davis, Olde America Antiques, Bozeman, MT

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