1893 – 1983
Theme/Style – Figurative art, landscapes, still lifes
Media – Oils, murals, frescos, watercolors, wood carvings, etchings, illustrations
Artistic Focus – Paul A. Schmitt’s works were distinguished by their use of color, not for its own sake but carefully chosen for its contribution to the scene. Schmitt himself described his painting as “honest…spiritual work,” and this ideal is borne out in both his watercolors and oils.
Career Highlights –
- Born in Philadelphia in 1893, Paul Anton Schmitt was the son of world-famous woodcarver Hermann Schmitt, and was painting watercolors from childhood.
- The Schmitt family first moved to San Francisco, but relocated to the Oakland area after the 1906 earthquake and fire. Starting in his teenage years, Schmitt worked as a sign painter and studied at the California College of Arts and Crafts under Perham Nahl, at the California School of Fine Arts, the University of California, Berkeley, and also under Maynard Dixon.
- Schmitt exhibited in the Oakland Art League’s first annual at Mills College in 1928, and again the following year in the company of Otis Oldfield, John Emmett Gerrity, Burton Boundey, and Lucretia Van Horn.
- By the 1930s Schmitt had established himself as a commercial artist, while continuing to paint scenes of the area around his Oakland studio/home, as well as murals in public buildings and churches.
- In 1933, Schmitt was included in the Oakland Art Gallery’s first annual watercolor exhibition, and went on to win first prize and “Guest of Honor” awards in its 1935 annual.
- Schmitt also exhibited in the first exhibition of the Bay Region Art Association’s gallery in Oakland in 1934.
- Schmitt would continue to exhibit at the Oakland Art Gallery throughout the 1930s and early 1940s, and was one of the founders of the Thirteen Watercolorists group, exhibiting with them in the late 1930s. He also exhibited at the Golden Gate International Exposition in 1939, and in the 1940s at the San Francisco Museum of Art and the California Palace of the Legion of Honor.
- In the 1950s and 1960s Schmitt continued to exhibit, and also taught art in Alameda’s Adult Education School.
- A lifelong resident of the San Francisco Bay area, Schmitt passed away in San Leandro in 1983.
Bibliographic references are available upon request.