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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Former Schmitz-Horning Company Building Destroyed by Fire

January 24, 2017

By Janet Dodrill

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

The Schmitz-Horning Company building, Cleveland, Ohio, about 1925. (Schmitz family archives)

In April 2011 when I began my research into family-owned Schmitz-Horning Company (Cleveland, Ohio, 1905-1960), a prominent high-end mural and wall covering manufacturer and printer (co-founded and run by my great-grandfather and later by my grandfather), two things happened. First, I discovered a black and white photograph of the building from around 1925 in our family documents. Second, after Googling the building’s address of 777 E. 82nd Street in Cleveland, search results showed it was being occupied by an industrial chemical company, and the building looked well maintained from the photo on Google street view.

777 E. 82nd Street, Cleveland, Ohio Photo: Google, 2007

777 E. 82nd Street, Cleveland, Ohio
Photo: Google, 2007

Excited about the find, it was my intention to go see the building. Several months rolled by and I Googled the business address again and many recent articles dated June 27, 2011 came up stating that an accidental fire had destroyed the building, most likely started by roofers, drawing 60 firefighters from 15 departments — a triple three alarm fire! Fortunately, no one was injured.

777 E. 82nd Street, Cleveland, Ohio Photo: Cleveland.com, June 27, 2011

Fire at 777 E. 82nd Street, Cleveland, Ohio
Photo: Cleveland.com, June 27, 2011

Initially, the owner announced plans to rebuild on the same site but renovated offices were built directly across the street in other facilities owned by the company. The site where the building once stood is today a lot for parking and storage of machinery and equipment.

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Artists D.E. Sutton and Anne Nolan Illustrated for Schmitz-Horning Catalogs

December 20, 2016

By Janet Dodrill

Schmitz-Horning Company of Cleveland, Ohio (1905-1960) was recognized on a global level as a high-end large scale chromolithograph designer and manufacturer of art murals and posters, wall decorations and wall coverings.

The company advertised in architectural and decorating trade magazines, and produced postcards with their patterns, and fully illustrated catalogs.

The original wallpaper and mural designs were meticulously drawn or painted by skilled artists then transferred onto lithographic plates, the largest in the country at the time, with the imported zinc plates exceeding 40″ x 80″ in size. Expert catalog illustrators recreated the patterns and rendered interiors showing their applications.

These catalog illustrations are beautiful and demonstrate a high degree of artistic ability and design.

Some of the catalogs themselves exist in our family, as a record of the business that my great-grandfather (H.M. Schmitz) co-founded and ran, and of which my grandfather (W.R. Schmitz) later oversaw.

Here are some of the Schmitz-Horning Company catalog illustrations, created and signed by B.E. Sutton, Anne Nolan, and D. Scott Brown or Scott D. Brown, D.S. or S.D., and other unidentified yet talented artists.

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Schmitz-Horning Co. pattern Chinese Floral, catalog illustration by D.E. Sutton.

Schmitz-Horning Co. pattern Chinese Floral, catalog illustration by D.E. Sutton.

Schmitz-Horning Co. pattern Elysia, catalog illustration by D.E. Sutton.

Schmitz-Horning Co. pattern Elysia, catalog illustration by D.E. Sutton.

Schmitz-Horning Co. pattern Marguerette, catalog illustration by Anne Nolan.

Schmitz-Horning Co. pattern Marguerette, catalog illustration by Anne Nolan.

Schmitz-Horning Co. pattern Valencia, catalog illustration by D.S. or S.D.

Schmitz-Horning Co. pattern Valencia, catalog illustration by D.S. or S.D.

Schmitz-Horning Co. pattern Valencia, catalog illustration by D. Scott Brown or Scott Brown D.

Schmitz-Horning Co. pattern Valencia, catalog illustration by D. Scott Brown or Scott Brown D.

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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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