William Horning, Schmitz-Horning Co., Artist and Lithographer

December 22, 2017

By Janet Dodrill

William Horning, Floral Still Life, oil on canvas, 27" x 33"

William Horning, Floral Still Life, oil on canvas, 27″ x 33″

William Horning, was a partner of the Schmitz-Horning Company, a lithographic wall covering and mural manufacturing firm in Cleveland, Ohio founded around 1905.

His name appeared on a 1906 patent for a printed repeat pattern wall frieze (US 830931 A), along with that of Hugo Max Schmitz I (my great-grandfather), and Warren R. Cox (family friend and head salesman).

William (Bill) Horning was a Cleveland area artist and lithographer, in addition to Hugo.

He sold his interest in Schmitz-Horning around 1920, but continued to work in the printing industry in the Cleveland area.

He was referred to as a landscape, marine, and animal painter of Cleveland (Cuyahoga area), and exhibited with the Cleveland Art Club and the Water Color Society of Cleveland starting in 1894. He led and evening sketch class at the Cleveland Art Club in 1895. That is around the time that my great grandfather Hugo M. Schmitz, who moved to Cleveland from Wisconsin, attended the group. They may have met there before starting Schmitz-Horning Co. not long thereafter.

In 1930 he participated in an exhibition of water colors by members of the Cleveland Society of Artists, a group who held member exhibits semi-annually. Carl Broemel, who created art for many murals for Schmitz-Horning, also had paintings in the exhibit, and incidentally was hired by my grandparents to paint an oil portrait of my mother as a young girl.

The floral oil painting by William Horning shown sold from the Baldwin-Wallace College collection at Rachel Davis Fine Arts auction in 2009.

 

Sources:

Cleveland Plain Dealer, Sunday, January 26, 1930

Artists in Ohio, 1787-1900: A Biographical Dictionary, by Jeffrey Weidman, compiled & edited by Mary Sayre Haverstock, Jeannette Mahoney Vance, & Brian L. Meggitt, © 2000, Kent State University Press

Rachel Davis Fine Arts

Liveauctioneers.com

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Photo: Rachel Davis Fine Arts

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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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Schmitz-Horning Co. Artists Created Impressive Lithographic Murals and Scenic Wallpaper

June 11, 2015

By Janet Dodrill

The Old Canal, Schmitz-Horning Co., Cleveland, Ohio, scenic mural, four sections each 40" wide x 80" high.

The Old Canal, Schmitz-Horning Co., Cleveland, Ohio, scenic mural, four sections each 40″ wide x 80″ high.

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.

Paul A. Meunier, gouache floral painting, 1937 – employed at the Schmitz-Horning Co., Cleveland, Ohio, 1927-1938.

Paul A. Meunier, gouache floral painting, 1937 – employed at the Schmitz-Horning Co., Cleveland, Ohio, 1927-1938.

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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