Paul A. Meunier, Artist at Schmitz-Horning Company

August 22, 2016

By Janet Dodrill

Paul A. Meunier

Paul A. Meunier. Source: The Plain Dealer

Paul Alfred Meunier (1906-1978) was an artist who worked in the lithographic printing industry. He came to Cleveland to study art, studying at John Huntington Polytechnic Institute and at the Cleveland School of Art. For 11 years, he worked at Cleveland’s lithographic mural and wall decoration business, Schmitz-Horning Company, which was co-founded around 1905 by my great-grandfather, Hugo M. Schmitz, and later run by my grandfather, Warren R. Schmitz, beginning in 1938. They employed many area artists. During the time span that Paul worked there (1927-1938), Hugo Schmitz served as president and Warren as vice president. Two of Paul’s uncles also worked at Schmitz-Horning, Ovid (Otto) Meunier for 25 years, and Laurence Meunier (Ovid’s brother) for 7 to 10 years.

Paul A. Meunier served as R.E. May Inc. owner and president, 1938-1977. Source: RE May website (brochure, Plant Tour Thru R. E. May Inc.)

Paul A. Meunier served as R.E. May Inc. owner and president, 1938-1977. Source: R.E. May Inc. website

In 1938 he became owner president of R.E. May Inc. (after being established in 1937 by Richard E. May and following his unexpected death), a litho plate company located on E. 24th Street in Cleveland, until he sold the firm in 1977. The company is still in existence today. A favored Schmitz-Horning western mural (a small-scale version) was displayed in his office reception area, entitled Wells Fargo, a wall covering pattern that is in the collection of the Western Reserve Historical Society (Cleveland History Center). It was possibly donated to them by Paul Meunier.

Reception area at R.E. May Inc. hangs Schmitz-Horning mural, Wells Fargo Source: R.E. May website

Above reception area at R.E. May Inc. hangs Schmitz-Horning mural, Wells Fargo. Source: R.E. May website

Wells Fargo pattern, 5 sections, each 40" x 80".

Wells Fargo pattern, 5 sections, each 40″ x 80″.

I myself worked in the printing industry as a graphic artist in Cleveland in the late 1980s/early 1990s, and we would send negatives to R.E. May for printing plates. They had an excellent reputation even then, but I was unaware of the company’s history or the connection to my ancestors.

Originally from Hunting Valley, Ohio, Paul A. Meunier had a home studio in Gates Mills, and enjoyed painting and creating prints from nature and wildlife. He specialized in painting horses owned by residents of Gates Mills and Hunting Valley. Many of his paintings hang in the Chagrin Valley Hunt Club. He was trustee of Gates Mills Historical Society, and created historical maps of the area. He wrote, illustrated, and published the book, History of Gates Mills, Ohio 1805-1976, as well as contributed illustrations to several other books. One of his paintings hangs in the chamber room at Gates Mills city hall. He showed his work at the annual Gates Mills Art Show, and a special juried award was established in his name, for the art best representing life in Gates Mills.

He served in WWII as a lieutenant colonel.

His great-grandfather was noted Belgian painter and sculptor, Constantin Meunier, who has work owned by the Louvre.

Village of Gates Mills Map by Paul A. Meunier, 1938. Source: Aspire Auctions

Village of Gates Mills Map by Paul A. Meunier, 1938. Source: Aspire Auctions

Map detail. Source: Aspire Auctions

Map detail. Source: Aspire Auctions

paul-a-meunier-gates-mills-map-detail-edition

Map detail. Source: Aspire Auctions

R.E. May Inc. building 1960 Source: R.E. May Inc. website

R.E. May Inc. building approx. 1960. Source: R.E. May Inc. website

paul-a-meunier-re-may-google-2011

R.E. May Inc. building 2011. Source: Google

Holly and Her Friends, Paul A. Meunier, 1974, Aluminum print, 10 1/2" x 14 3/4". Source: Gray's Auctioneers & Appraisers, Liveautioneers.com

Holly and Her Friends, Paul A. Meunier, 1974, Aluminum print, 10 1/2″ x 14 3/4″. Source: Gray’s Auctioneers & Appraisers, Liveautioneers.com

Paul A. Meunier, watercolor or gouache floral painting, 1937, employed at the Schmitz-Horning Co. 1927-1938.

Paul A. Meunier, watercolor or gouache floral painting, 1937, employed at the Schmitz-Horning Co. 1927-1938.

paul-a-meunier-label-1937

Paul A. Meunier artwork label, 1937

Resources:

-The Plain Dealer, February 18, 1978 (Paul A. Meunier Obituary)
RE May Inc. website
-Gates Mills Art Show 2016 Program
Aspire Auctions
Gray’s Auctioneers & Appraisers, Liveautioneers.com
Google
-Schmitz family documents

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

 

 

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Artists of Schmitz-Horning Company

May 28, 2016

By Janet Dodrill

The Schmitz-Horning Co., a chromo-lithographic wallcovering firm, was in business 55 plus years, from 1905 to 1960. But the company may have started in 1903 as a litho poster production company and then developed their own line of wall murals, friezes, and scenic wall papers around 1905, branded San-Kro-Mura. They offered an attractive yet inexpensive product line, using oil-based non-fading color oil-based inks printed on high quality paper that was sanitary or fully-washable. Later as new scenics and panoramics designed, the brand Kro-mura was created.

They rented space at the Whitney Power Building or Power Block at E. 10th and Power Ave., between St. Clair and Rockwell, and later moved to their own building at 777 E. 82nd Street in Cleveland, near Gordon Park. In 1906 a patent was registered for the ‘Frieze’ by co-owners Hugo Max Schmitz and William Horning, along with their head salesperson, Warren R. Cox. The Frieze was a repeating continuous scene which surrounded the room at the top of the wall. In the early years it would take two years to complete the plates for a single scenic. The 43″ x 83″ hand-fed lithographic presses used were the largest in the world. The company custom built three, Schmitz-Horning had two, the other being in London, England. Zinc plates had to be shipped from Germany.

The company produced some of the largest wall maps in the industry.

Hugo Max Schmitz (1867-1938) (my great grandfather), co-owner, was an artist who came to Cleveland, in his 30s, in the late 1800s, and was from a large German family in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He married Pauline (Queen) M. Reynolds in 1902, who was a society lady. They lived in East Cleveland and later moved to University Heights, Ohio.

Venice pattern, 30" x 10', and original watercolor by Hugo M. Schmitz, Schmitz-Horning co-founder.

Venice pattern, 30″ x 10′, and original watercolor by Hugo M. Schmitz, Schmitz-Horning co-founder.

He was a member of Cleveland’s Art Club, with mostly German members, that met in City Hall. He traveled to Paris and Morocco, and perhaps to Morocco with other artists. In one of these paintings, he painted a cleaning girl from a New York City office building and won an award for it (either second place or honorable mention) at an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Our family has a couple of his original watercolors and oils, including a portrait he did of my great grandmother. They honeymooned in Venice, and a watercolor he did there became a wallpaper pattern called Venice. He was rated as one of the best litho-crayon artists in the industry.

William Horning, co-owner, sold his interest in the company to Hugo around 1920, but worked as a lithographer in Cleveland.

Warren R. Schmitz (1905-1970) (my grandfather), son of Hugo M. Schmitz, started working at the company after college around 1929 in sales and promotion, and designed sales brochures, books and displays and traveled to various dealers in the U.S. He ran the company after his father’s death in 1938 until it closed around 1960.

After time, the company produced small scale salesman samples of the wallpapers for sales calls. Prior to that they were taking long rolls on calls. The same high quality inks and papers were used on the smaller scale versions. Warren Schmitz modernized the product line, obtaining sketches from prominent artists. New sales promotion aids were printed in-house using a small Harris offset press. In the 1950s he appeared on the TV show ‘What’s My Line?’. The company was also featured on a radio segment called ‘On Location’ with young announcer Virgil Dominic, sponsored by The Illuminating Company.

Chateau de Province pattern, ten sections, each 40" x 80", repeat, designed by Henry G. Keller. Above catalog illustration, below section of actual paper (detail photo: Cooper Hewitt).

Chateau de Province pattern, ten sections, each 40″ x 80″, repeat, designed by Henry G. Keller. Above catalog illustration, below section of actual paper (detail photo: Cooper Hewitt).

Henry G. Keller (1869-1949) was a Cleveland School Artist and taught there. He designed the pattern, Chateau de Province, while in his prime. It was a French rural scenic, an included a chateau, native trees, and a fox hunt of equestrians with horses. It was 10 sections, each near 33″ x 72″.

Carl Fuchs designed Old South, believed in the 1940s, of plantation life in early America, including a steamboat and fox hunt. There were twelve sections, each 40″ x 80″ in repeat pattern.

Old South pattern, 12 sections, each 40" x 80", repeat, designed by Carl Fuchs. Section of actual paper (detail photo: Cooper Hewitt).

Old South pattern, 12 sections, each 40″ x 80″, repeat, designed by Carl Fuchs. Section of actual paper (detail photo: Cooper Hewitt).

Lou Ramacciato, began working at Schmitz-Horning after graduating from Cleveland Institute of Art in 1946, and later went on to work 28 years at the Cleveland Museum of Art restoring art and preparing gallery exhibits.

Robinson Crusoe Pictoral Mural Map, one panel 40" x 60", designed by Glenn M. Shaw. Above catalog illustration, below section of actual paper (detail photo: Cooper Hewitt).

Robinson Crusoe Pictoral Mural Map, one panel 40″ x 60″, designed by Glenn M. Shaw. Above catalog illustration, below section of actual paper (detail photo: Cooper Hewitt).

Glenn M. Shaw and Elsa Shaw had a studio in Lakewood and both worked commercially and taught. Elsa did some design work for them, though Glenn designed a number of patterns for the company, including 5 illustrated maps which were said to be accurate, the Old Canal set which depicts the Ohio and Erie Canal between Cleveland and Bath, Ohio, and Old Dominion which is a set of 7 panels. Each panel is 30” x 80” plus, could be trimmed at the desired height. He is known for painting murals in three post offices, in Canton, Warren, and Perrysburg, Ohio.

Paul A. Meunier was a litho artist, from Hunting Valley, who worked at the company for 11 years. Two other family members worked there, Ovid Meunier for 25 years and Laurence Meunier for 7-10 years. After leaving Schmitz-Horning, Paul became partner then owner at R.E. May, a plate-making company, that is still in existence today on E. 24th Street in Cleveland. I found an old brochure page on their website which shows Paul, and in another photo on the same page is a small-scale Schmitz-Horning western mural, called Wells Fargo. The Western Reserve Historical Society has a full size set of the pattern in their collection.

Wells Fargo pattern, 5 sections, each 40" x 80", repeat (artist unknown).

Wells Fargo pattern, 5 sections, each 40″ x 80″, repeat (artist unknown).

I found a still life watercolor by Paul Meunier on ETSY in 2011, and his name plate appeared on the back of the framing. He painted it in 1937, during the span of time when he worked at Schmitz-Horning. He wrote a book on the history of Gates Mills, Ohio, and there is an award in his name at the Gates Mills Art Show. I read that a painting of his was in the chamber room of their city hall. He enjoyed drawing, printmaking, and painting wildlife and horses.

Paul A. Meunier, watercolor or gouache floral painting, 1937, employed at the Schmitz-Horning Co. 1927-1938.

Paul A. Meunier, watercolor or gouache floral painting, 1937, employed at the Schmitz-Horning Co. 1927-1938.

Ed Sinz worked at the company for 35-40 years. We have Christmas cards, to my grandfather from the sculptor Walter Sinz around the 1940s, possibly Ed’s son or relation.

Here is a comprehensive list of known artists or litho artists that worked at the Schmitz-Horning Co., either on staff or assignment-based, as designer and/or litho artist.

Schmitz-Horning Co. Artists:

Anne Nolan (catalog Illustrator)
August Biehle (?)

Binnie Wilson
Carl Broemel
Carl Fuchs
D.E. Sutton (catalog Illustrator)
Ed Sinz
Elsa V. Shaw
Glenn M. Shaw
Havenstein
Henry G. Keller
Hugo M. Schmitz (Schmitz-Horning Co. co-founder)
Kathy Cass
Kyra Markham
Laurence Meunier
Lou Ramacciato
Ovid Meunier
Paul A. Meunier
Paul Haas
William Horning (Schmitz-Horning Co. co-founder)

Posters and displays were printed for
Advertising Agencies:

Fred Dugar Co.
Fuller-Smith & Ross
H. Stief Company/Harvey G. Steif, Inc.
Lang, Fisher & Stashower

Lotus Garden pattern catalog illustration by B.E. Sutton.

Lotus Garden pattern catalog illustration by B.E. Sutton.

When I began to uncover material from the company in our family home, it sparked my interest. Starting with my first blog post about Schmitz-Horning in 2011, I began writing a series of blog posts, and started to receive many inquiries about the company and patterns. I hope to continue my research and  produce a publication on it one day.

 

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Google Cultural Institute

April 29, 2015

By Janet Dodrill

Schmitz-Horning Co. Sierras wall mural

Sierras (1913-14) by the Schmitz-Horning Co., Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.

Have you been to the Google Cultural Institute? The Google Art Project section is a diverse collection of art, and there are Historic Moments and World Wonders sections to explore too. The art is searchable by collections, artists, artworks, and user galleries.

In my search on information regarding my great-grandfather’s wallpaper and mural business, the Schmitz-Horning Co., I found four of the company’s mural art samples in Google’s Art Project, which are in the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum at the Smithsonian.

Google Chrome browser has a Google Art Project extension which adds a tab that is refreshed everyday (hourly according to one source) with art masterpieces. You can learn more about the image or download it to use on your computer desktop!

Google Art Project Chrome browser extension

Google Art Project Chrome browser extension

The Google Cultural Institute also enables you to create your own galleries and share with friends. There is also a Featured section of exhibitions and collections. A couple I viewed were the Struggle Ink Exhibiton of public poster art and the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

If you need inspiration or to brighten your day, visit the site! Links in the header allow you to take a tour or watch a video to get started!

Resources:

Google Cultural Institute, www.google.com/culturalinstitute

Smashing Magazine, Smashing Newsletter #133, www.smashingmagazine.com


Artists’ Mural is Major Topic in Chagrin Falls, Ohio

April 30, 2014

By Janet Dodrill

Valley Art Center, Chagrin Falls, Ohio mural to be painted over.

Valley Art Center, Chagrin Falls, Ohio mural to be painted over. (Photo: Janet Dodrill)

In the small quaint town of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, a charming art center (art gallery, gift shop and classroom facility) known as Valley Art Center had a unique, artistic exterior mural done by three professional artists depicting a gallery wall.

Though the painted wall contained no words, only imagery, the city claimed that the mural was sending a ‘message’ which meant it was considered a ‘sign’ and ordered it removed because it was in violation of their zoning code. Signs in that town need to be 12 feet and smaller and the mural was clearly larger.

Many attempts were made to try to save the mural — local artists and art center officials attended town meetings, but to no avail.

The art center turned an unfortunate situation around. They agreed to replace the mural with one that satisfied the laws of village according to their code.

They are currently in the process of selecting a new design through a public Call To Entry process. And the city agreed to write mural guidelines into the sign code.

Soon the art center will have a new mural designed by an artist and for the public to enjoy for years to come.

See some of the related articles surrounding this story:

Valley Art Center and Chagrin Falls officials will commission new mural

Valley Art Center Mural Competition 
Call to Entry

Painting a Controversy: Artists Fight to Save Mural

Chagrin Falls’ VAC mural center of big controversy

Valley Art Center in Chagrin Falls fighting village’s order to remove wall mural