Archibald Willard, Friend to Hugo Max Schmitz of Schmitz-Horning Co.

February 27, 2017

By Janet Dodrill

Hugo Max Schmitz I (late 1800s).  (Schmitz family archives)

Hugo Max Schmitz I (late 1800s). (Schmitz family archives)

It is believed that in the 1890s, a promising artist left his family and relatives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and made his way to Cleveland, perhaps attracted to its thriving art community. He was Hugo Max Schmitz (1867-1938), my great grandfather, and in his mid-30s. Hugo, of German descent, joined Cleveland’s Art Club (formerly know as The Bohemians) and attended regular drawing sessions in its location above City Hall, and participated in their exhibits and possibly traveled abroad with other artists.

President of the established Art Club (and also co-founder and trustee) at the time was notable northeast Ohio artist Archibald MacNeal Willard (1836-1918). He was best known for his painting of The Spirit of ’76. He was born in Bedford, Ohio and at the age of 17 moved to Wellington, Ohio. There is a museum in Wellington in his honor.

Photo portrait of Archibald Willard, restored (Schmitz family archives).

Photo portrait of Archibald Willard, restored (Schmitz family archives).

Archibald Willard was a prolific artist who worked in a variety of mediums and subject matters. He was a talented portrait artist as well as landscape artist.

In addition to the Wellington museum, several Cleveland museums carry his work including the Cleveland Museum of Art and Cleveland History Center/Western Reserve Historical Society. A dedicated plot just east of Cleveland City Hall is known as Willard Park.

A search in Cleveland’s The Plain Dealer archived newspaper articles, resulted in stories about Cleveland artists which included Archibald Willard and photos of him working in his studio.

Archibald MacNeal Willard in his studio (Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer, December 17, 1899, Several of Cleveland's Well Known Artists Seen At Work In Their Studios).

Archibald MacNeal Willard in his studio (Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer, December 17, 1899, Several of Cleveland’s Well Known Artists Seen At Work In Their Studios).

He had a friendship with Hugo, and gave him a portrait photo of himself, plus as a wedding gift in 1902 an original landscape oil painting, which resembles the area’s Chagrin River. In addition my great grandfather received a small statue of The Spirit of ’76 from Mr. Willard, which may be a one of a kind working prototype in porcelain by Stanway.

Hugo Max Schmitz co-founded the Schmitz-Horning Company in 1905, a well-regarded scenic wall paper and mural manufacturing firm, and was president of the company until 1938, when his son Warren Reynolds Schmitz ran it until the company’s closing around 1960.

Landscape oil painting by Archibald Willard (Schmitz family archives).

Landscape oil painting by Archibald Willard (Schmitz family archives).

Statue of Spirit of '76 by Archibald Willard (Schmitz family archives).

Statue of Spirit of ’76 by Archibald Willard (Schmitz family archives).

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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

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Frank Wilcox Exhibit at Cleveland History Center/WRHS

February 29, 2016

By Janet Dodrill

Frank N. Wilcox, Artist As Historian Exhibit

Frank N. Wilcox, Artist As Historian Exhibit

An exhibit of the work of artist, book author, and historian, Frank Nelson Wilcox (1887-1964) is on display at the Cleveland History Center (known as the Western Reserve Historical Society), through April 30, 2016.

The subject matter included farm life and countryside, cityscapes including the Cleveland Flats, Indians (including book illustrations), Ohio waterways and canal barges, and also fishermen, western pueblos, and rivers and mountains.

Exhibit curator, William G. Scheele, of Kokoon Art Gallery, pulled-together a phenomenal collection of paintings (mainly watercolor), drawings and sketches and regional history, which are masterfully organized and displayed. Incidentally, his father, William E. Scheele (1920-1998), was a nature artist in Cleveland which led him to becoming a director at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History during his career. So, ties to the area art scene during Wilcox’s time may be especially meaningful to him.

Frank Wilcox taught design, drawing, painting and printmaking at the Cleveland School of Art for 44 years starting in 1913, after his graduation there in 1910.

Some of the pieces in the exhibit have never been displayed publicly.

Early family photos and work by his wife, Florence Bard Wilcox (a jewelry designer and maker) are also on display in the hallway leading into the main exhibit.

Resource links:

Frank N. Wilcox: Artist as Historian | Exhibit Opening
http://www.wrhs.org/events/frank-n-wilcox-artist-as-historian-exhibit-opening/

Frank N. Wilcox: Artist as Historian
http://canjournal.org/2015/11/frank-n-wilcox-artist-as-historian/

Frank N. Wilcox, Artist As Historian Exhibit at the Cleveland History Center

Frank N. Wilcox, Artist As Historian Exhibit at the Cleveland History Center

Frank Wilcox watercolor painting, Ohio canal barge

Frank Wilcox watercolor painting, Ohio canal barge

Frank Wilcox watercolor character studies

Frank Wilcox watercolor character studies

Frank Wilcox watercolor painting, study

Frank Wilcox watercolor painting, study

Frank Wilcox watercolor paintings of the Cleveland Flats

Frank Wilcox watercolor paintings of the Cleveland Flats

Frank Wilcox watercolor painting

Frank Wilcox watercolor painting

Frank Wilcox, Creative Techniques display

Frank Wilcox, Creative Techniques display

Frank Wilcox watercolor painting/study and poster

Frank Wilcox watercolor painting/study and poster

Frank Wilcox watercolor paintings and sketches

Frank Wilcox watercolor paintings and sketches

Frank Wilcox watercolor paintings

Frank Wilcox watercolor paintings

Frank Wilcox, Printmaking & Books display

Frank Wilcox, Printmaking & Books display

Frank Wilcox sketches

Frank Wilcox sketches

Frank Wilcox, Travels

Frank Wilcox, Travels

Frank Wilcox watercolor painting

Frank Wilcox watercolor painting

Frank Wilcox watercolor painting

Frank Wilcox watercolor painting

Frank Wilcox early photo

Frank Wilcox early photo

Cleveland History Center, Western Reserve Historical Society, courtyard

Cleveland History Center, Western Reserve Historical Society, courtyard

 

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The National Gallery Online Art Collection

July 18, 2015

By Janet Dodrill

the national galleryThe National Gallery (@NationalGallery) tweeted on July 16, 2015 that now images can be downloaded from their collection for personal use! That got me interested in exploring their website www.nationalgallery.org.uk. Here are a few links to good resources, I discovered there, for the art enthusiast!

Online Collection:
www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings

Explore the paintings:
Collection overview, 30 ‘must-see’ paintings, paintings room by room, a virtual tour of over 300 paintings, the picture of the month, the latest loans and acquisitions, and more.
www.nationalgallery.org.uk/view-the-collection

This month, the picture of the month is Peter Paul Rubens, A Roman Triumph, about 1630, with free downloadable wallpaper:
www.nationalgallery.org.uk/upload/img/wallpaper-rubens-a-roman-triumph-ng278.jpg

Download the iPhone app:
www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/learn-about-art

The National Gallery Channel:
Watch video and learn about hidden symbolism in paintings, techniques of the old masters, contemporary artists, impressionism, and more.
www.nationalgallery.org.uk/channel

The National Gallery Podcasts:
Listen to information on Cézanne, Manet, Rembrandt, Bruegel, Monet, Millet, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and more.
www.nationalgallery.org.uk/podcasts

Caring for the paintings:
www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/caring-for-the-paintings

 

wallpaper-rubens-a-roman-triumph-ng278

Peter Paul Rubens, A Roman Triumph, about 1630, wallpaper download from the National Gallery website.