Schmitz-Horning Company Created Wallpaper Murals and Art

April 11, 2011

By Janet Dodrill

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Schmitz-Horning Co. wall art.

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Hugo Max Schmitz of Schmitz-Horning Company, Cleveland, Ohio.

In the early 1900s there existed a Cleveland, Ohio wallpaper and mural art manufacturing company named Schmitz-Horning Company. Artist and printmaker Hugo Max Schmitz, co-founder, artist, and a second or third generation German immigrant, produced large scale decorative wall pieces known as “friezes”. These pictorial wall decorations were applied to the upper third of walls in high class home and hallways or public buildings (the lower area was typically covered in a solid wallpaper to serve as background for furniture). The company was innovative in its German imports of large scale plates for their color lithography and chromolithography printing, and the first to develop, though unpatented, a washable wallpaper printed in oil colors and cleanable with a damp cloth without injury to the paper.

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Wall paper mural sample showing A, B, C, and D sections. Sanibel Pattern No. 77211, Schmitz-Horning Co., Cleveland, Ohio.

Hugo wrote an article on ‘Wallpaper News’ for Arts & Decoration architecture magazine, October 1912 (pages 439-440) about this wall treatment and its application. According to the article, the wall decoration frieze was of a different concept than a typical wall border, which were to be used with wall-hangings. The designs were more independent in character, to take up not less than one quarter of the wall space (high room ceilings preferred), and its base should not be more than seven feet from the ground. The company also manufactured advertising posters.

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Wife, Queen grew up in this E. Cleveland home on the north side of Euclid Avenue at Ivydale (across the street and down from the Rockefellers).

Mr. Schmitz knew many of the Cleveland School Artists, painted and sketched among them, and hired some of them to design wallpaper murals, including Henry Keller, and August Biehle. He also spoke of other local artists like Frank Wilcox and William Somer. He was close friends with Archibald Willard of Bedford, Ohio, who is known for his painting, The Spirit of ’76. Archibald Willard presented one of his landscape paintings to Hugo and his bride, Queen Reynolds for their wedding in 1902. Later he gave Hugo a table statue of the three soldiers depicted in his famous painting.

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Schmitz-Horning Co. wallpaper mural, sports series.

National Painters magazine, Volume 39. 1912 (pages 734-735) stated the company first appeared at the wall paper show in 1905 with their panoramic friezes. Early popular designs included the “Navajo”, the “Chase” and the “Cupids and Garlands”, and were considered dominant features with their bright colors and more importantly real works of art at a considerable low cost. Other newer named catalog items are named in the article with color variances including a ‘Wizard of Oz’ series, and subject matter including gardens and castles, foliage and tree tops, grasses, sunsets, tropics, brooks, fabric effects, sporting panels and fox hunters, poker games and horse drawn carriages, witches and caldrons, animal cut-outs for children, even story-telling “Pocahontas and Captain John Smith”, ranging in size from 10-41 inches, some in repeats, and some in continuous designs extending to 20 feet. Schmitz Horning had small scale illustrations made in actual colors for their catalogs.

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The Schmitz-Horning Company building, Cleveland, Ohio, about 1925.

In Building Age architecture magazine, 1919, (page 78) the catalogs are noted as of interest to the trade, and the friezes are described as affordable decorations which retained qualities of hand work or mural paintings, were sanitary (cleanable) and were said not to stain or fade.

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After the death of Hugo Max Schmitz, Schmitz-Horning Co. was run by his son, Warren Reynolds Schmitz.

Potter & Potter Auctions of Chicago has carried a number of Schmitz-Horning wall lithographs in their auctions.

The company was a member of The Wallpaper Council of New York, NY. After his tragic death by automobile accident in 1938, the business was run by Hugo’s son, Warren Reynolds Schmitz, until it closed sometime around 1960.

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Original watercolor by Hugo Max Schmitz.

Hugo Max Schmitz was my great-grandfather, and though I never met him, I have admiration for him and share his passion for art and printmaking. His personal artwork included original portrait work in watercolor and oils.

Copyright article and images. All rights reserved. Not to be used without permission.

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Seeing More of Someone After They Have Gone

March 20, 2011

By Janet Dodrill

everett lewis dodrill jr 1950s

Everett Lewis Dodrill, Jr., 1950s

Why is it we learn so much more about people after they go? You’ve probably heard the expression that an artist (the same may be the case for authors, musicians, composers, and other creative people) never really get famous till after death! Since my dad, Everett Dodrill, died earlier this month, we have pieced together many more facts about his life. People have provided us photos and stories of their encounters with “Ev”. Now I’ve gone from proud to really proud. We wish we knew some of these facts when he was alive to let him know just how wonderful he was and how good a life he had lead. We also heard his life’s story according to him in his final months–what a treasured time to hold onto. People are more complex than we see day-to-day. Have you gotten to know your elders and their accomplishments? What about past generations in your family?

Some information about my father can be found at:

Everett Lewis Dodrill, Jr., Brown-Forward, Cleveland, Ohio

March 9 Post: Everett Dodrill – 1926-2011 by Kelly Ferjutz

Everett Dodrill appeared on local stages and stations, The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio


Three Sisters Sanctuary

September 19, 2010

By Janet Dodrill

Good Time Stove Company

Good Time Stove Company

Unrevealed from the roadside and from the front of the Good Time Stove Company in Goshen, MA, lies a treasure — a healing garden, built by stove store and property owner Richard Richards to honor his three daughters (Tina Marie [late], Sara Wenona, Megan Elizabeth), called Three Sisters Sanctuary.

Three Sisters Sanctuary

Three Sisters Sanctuary

The unique backyard grounds includes fire pits and stages, ponds and fountains, sculptures and mosaics, and is open to the public to walk through, ponder, take time, and enjoy this artistic and spiritual dream land. Additionally, events can be scheduled on the premises such as weddings, plays, parties and music concerts. There is beauty, fun, surprise, and thought provoking creative visual work and landscaping throughout the garden. Giant boulders including quartz lined-up to create energy fields are carefully arranged, and all excavated from the property.

An old friend took me there and Richard was there talking to people as they visited this special place. The stoves are a treat to see too.