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

 

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


Schmitz-Horning Company Created Wallpaper Murals and Art

April 11, 2011

By Janet Dodrill

schmitz-horning-company-cleveland-ohio-color-landscape-wall-mural

Schmitz-Horning Co. wall art.

hugo max schmitz

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.

schmitz-horning-company-cleveland-ohio-sanibel-no-77211-wall-mural-sample

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.

queen-reynolds-home-euclid-ave-east-cleveland-ohio

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.

schmitz-horning-company-cleveland-ohio-hunt-sport-wall-mural

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.

schmitz-horning-company-cleveland-ohio-plant-about-1925

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.

warren-reynolds-schmitz-schmitz-horning-company-cleveland-ohio

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.

hugo-max-schmitz-original-watercolor-cleveland-ohio

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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