In this issue . . . . New exhibit featuring Carl Schmitt opens tonight | Featured Painting: Woman and Guardian Angel | Share the legacy: Carl Schmitt online
New exhibit opens tonight with a wine and cheese reception
Gertrude Sleeping, 1914. One of the works featured at the exhibition opening May 22. A pastel sketch of the woman Schmitt would marry four years later.
The New Canaan Historical Society
invites you to an opening reception for
The Silvermine Room Exhibition On Canvas, Paper & Board—Works by The Silvermine Group of Artists
on Thursday, May 22nd from 5 to 7 pm
13 Oenoke Ridge Road, New Canaan, Connecticut
The exhibition will be on view until August 5th, 2014
On Canvas, Paper & Board—Works by The Silvermine Group of Artists focuses on the work of seven early Silvermine artists: Edmund M. Ashe, Solon Borglum, Helen Hamilton, Addison T. Millar, Charles Reiffel, Frederick Yohn, and Carl Schmitt. The exhibit is the latest in a series exploring the Silvermine Art Colony, known locally as The Silvermine Group of Artists or “The Knockers” (1908–1922). A number of the works are being lent by the Carl Schmitt Foundation.
The exhibit highlights the different mediums in which these seven artists worked. As professional artists, they were highly trained draftsmen capable of creating works in oil, watercolor, pastel, pencil, charcoal, pen and ink, and many were accomplished in printmaking and sculpture.
The artwork is grouped by artist, giving the viewer the opportunity to compare and contrast, within one artist’s work, the similarities and differences that are imposed by the different mediums and the intended purpose of the art. The layout encourages one to look at the work, style, and technique of each of the artists in comparison to the others.
The exhibit features eight work by Schmitt in oil, pastel, pen and ink, charcoal, as well as two etchings in various states of execution. The different states demonstrate Schmitt's working methods in this challenging medium. An additional highlight of the exhibition is the oil painting Woman and Guardian Angel, a recent gift to the Foundation in its first public display outside the CSF studios (see article below).
Tagliacozzo, charcoal on paper, dated August 1939, featured at the Silvemrine exhibit opening May 22. One of a series of sketches Schmitt did while convalescing in the Abruzzi region of Italy.
Woman and Guardian Angel: Sculpture "in the lowest relief"
Woman and Guardian Angel, oil on canvas on board, 1925, 30 x 25 in. At the exhibition in New Canaan, Connecticut opening May 22.
This warm and inviting painting, one of the most beguiling of Carl Schmitt's “tapestry” style, was the result of many months of toil in the cold winter of 1924-25. Schmitt first mentions it his journal in early November, when he was busy at what would become one of his largest works, the mural Nativity, measuring 10 by 6 feet. The two works now hang side by side in the Foundation's studio gallery in Silvermine.
After announcing “Good-bye to studio ’till 1925” on December 23, Schmitt was back at it three days after Christmas. By the end of the month conditions were becoming desperate: “Slept rather cold in the studio last night. I had three bathrobes and two overcoats over me. I found the bottle of milk frozen (which was by the bed) this morning. I kept the fire roaring and worked continuously on the Guardian Angel all day.” A week into the new year saw a milestone of sorts: “I worked on the ‘Woman and Angel’ and completed it (at least for the time being).”
Of course, the artist worked the painting over in the next few weeks, and in fact considered it only in its first stages. “I swung the ‘Woman and Angel’ into the beginning of a picture today,” he reported on January 9. Schmitt goes on to reveal the fruit of his long labors, both with the brush and in thought. “I am slowly learning the place of form in painting. Sculpture is prefigured only in painting.…cf. Cezanne at the end of his labor: ‘Painting is not sculpture.’ One might add ‘But it prefigures it, apprehends it in the lowest relief.’”
A friend of the CSF admires Schmitt’s Woman and Guardian Angel at the Foundation's Open House last year. In the background hangs Nativity,among Schmitt's largest works, completed during that same hard winter of 1924-25.
If the great nineteenth-century painter Paul Cezanne, whom Schmitt admired for his dedication to form in painting, seemed disappointed that his art could not reach the level of sculpture, Schmitt seems determined to compensate for this loss. One sees in this painting the solid masses and bold forms of sculpture, but with the jewel-like colors that can be realized only in paint.
The forms themselves also display a flexibility that stone or bronze could not easily withstand: witness the arm of the woman intertwined with that of the angel. Here the demands of three-dimensional form—not to mention the anatomy of the figures—bow to the overall design of the painting.
It is not clear when the work was finally completed, since it was not exhibited in the artist's lifetime. In 1932, the painting was bought by John Kenneth Byard,a longtime patron and friend of Schmitt. Byard gave it to his brother Dever, who passed it on to his son, and so on to his daughter, who gave it to the Foundation last year.
Share the legacy: Carl Schmitt online
The Carl Schmitt Foundation exists to further the legacy of a great American artist. If you have been enriched by Schmitt's art, moved by his thought, or inspired by his life, share the legacy!
Share this newsletter by email or social media by clicking the buttons below
Send us the contact information of those who would enjoy our print newsletter
Contact us if you own any works of Carl Schmitt or have information about his life
And if you have not yet given to the Carl Schmitt Foundation, please consider making an ongoing pledge. Even a modest monthly commitment tells us that you believe the Foundation's mission is worth supporting. It is affordable for you, yet can prove a significant help for us over the course of the year. Just click the "Support the CSF" button below.