By Janet Dodrill
Cleveland scenic wallpaper and lithographic mural company, Schmitz-Horning Company (operating roughly between 1903-1964), hired many local and nationally-recognized artists to design their lithograph murals. The company used high quality paper with oil-based inks that were fully washable, and their product was claimed not to fade.
Some of the artists hired worked in-house while others worked out of their studios. Once an artistic sketch or the study was created on paper or illustration board, litho-crayon (grease) artists would enlarge the designs onto zinc lithographic plates for printing. With mural sections at 40″ x 80″ plus, these color lithographs were printed on some of the largest printing presses in the country at that time.
Some of the artists who designed for Schmitz-Horning include Henry G. Keller, Glenn M. Shaw and Elsa V. Shaw, Carl Broemel, Paul A. Meunier, Carl Fuchs, Paul Haas, Hugo M. Schmitz, and others – many of them studying or teaching at the Cleveland School of Art (they had a mural department) and the Cleveland Museum of Art, and some were members of Cleveland’s Art Club.
The company was originally a lithographic poster plant and then developed a line of litho murals which later developed into scenic and floral wall decorations. Although wallpaper was the main source of sales, many posters and displays were printed for advertising agencies.
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