Hugo Max Schmitz, Newly-Discovered Artwork

November 30, 2019

By Janet Dodrill

hugo max schmitz

Hugo Max Schmitz, photograph, early 1900s (recently-discovered).

On a recent trip out of town to visit my cousins, some items were discovered in my uncle’s possession. Unseen artwork by Hugo Max Schmitz, my great-grandfather, all of which I had not seen before. In a couple of the works, there are similarities to his previously-known work. He was an artist and a co-founder of Cleveland wall covering firm, Schmitz-Horning Company (1905-1964). The stunning painting comparisons are below.

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

Watercolor portrait of young girl by artist Hugo Max Schmitz.

Watercolor portrait of young girl by artist Hugo Max Schmitz.

art study by hugo max schmitz

Possibly study for watercolor portrait of young girl by artist Hugo Max Schmitz, oil or gouache, early 1900s (recently discovered).

Self-portrait by artist Hugo Max Schmitz, oil, 1898.

Self-portrait by artist Hugo Max Schmitz, oil, 1898.

self portrait by hugo max schmitz

Self-portrait study by artist Hugo Max Schmitz, oil, early 1900s (recently discovered).


Artist Hugo Max Schmitz from Wisconsin Co-Founded Schmitz-Horning Co.

July 30, 2019
Hugo Max Schmitz, 1930.

Hugo Max Schmitz, 1930.

Hugo Max Schmitz (1867-1938), my great-grandfather, was an artist and co-founder of the Schmitz-Horning Company, a Cleveland wall covering manufacturer. After moving from Milwaukee, Wisconsin around the 1890s, he established himself in Cleveland’s Art Club (formerly know as The Bohemians) and exhibited in group shows. In one exhibit he showed with prominent artist and club president Archibald M. Willard, in addition to artist and lithographer, William (Bill) Horning, who would become his future business partner at Schmitz-Horning.

Hugo had six siblings, born in Wisconsin between 1852 and 1860: Victor, Willam, Edward, Florentine, Mary, and Charles Schmitz, born to father Peter Jospeh Schmitz and mother Mary (Leity).

One day I hope to learn more about his close family relatives and more about his art. We do know that a portrait that he painted of a young girl received an honorable mention in an exhibit at the New York Metropolitan Museum of art.

He married in 1902, to Pauline (“Queen”) Maynard Reynolds, daughter of Cleveland banker Iri Reynolds. They spent their honeymoon in Venice.

Hugo was acting president at Schmitz-Horning Co., est. 1905, and was one of the initial artists for the firm, designing high-end color lithographic wall mural and paper patterns. He ran the company until his death in 1938, and then his son, Warren Reynolds Schmitz took over, who was already working in sales at the company.

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

Hugo Max Schmitz as a child.

Hugo Max Schmitz as a child.

Hugo Max Schmitz, age 9.

Hugo Max Schmitz, age 9.

Hugo Max Schmitz, early still life artwork.

Hugo Max Schmitz, early still life artwork.

Hugo Max Schmitz, early landscape artwork.

Hugo Max Schmitz, early landscape artwork.

The Schmitz family of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, late 1800s.

The Schmitz family of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, late 1800s.

Hugo Max Schmitz (center), Paris, 1890s.

Hugo Max Schmitz (center), Paris, 1890s.

Hugo Max Schmitz (right) with his signature pipe, Paris,1890s.

Hugo Max Schmitz (right) with his signature pipe, Paris,1890s.

Hugo Max Schmitz, early late 1800s or early 1900s.

Hugo Max Schmitz, early late 1800s or early 1900s.

Self-portrait by artist Hugo Max Schmitz, oil, 1898.

Self-portrait by artist Hugo Max Schmitz, oil, 1898.

Hugo Max Schmitz’s watercolor of Venice done on his honeymoon, 1902.

Hugo Max Schmitz’s watercolor of Venice done on his honeymoon, 1902.

Hugo Max Schmitz’s watercolor of Venice became a wall mural pattern for Schmitz-Horning Co., early 1900s.

Hugo Max Schmitz’s watercolor of Venice became a wall mural pattern for Schmitz-Horning Co., early 1900s.

Original Wall Mural Design Panels for Schmitz-Horning-Company, Floral Garden by Hugo Max Schmitz, oil, early 1900s.

Original Wall Mural Design Panels for Schmitz-Horning-Company, Floral Garden by Hugo Max Schmitz, oil, early 1900s.

Portrait by artist Hugo Max Schmitz of his wife, watercolor, 1903.

Portrait by artist Hugo Max Schmitz of his wife, watercolor, 1903.

Watercolor portrait of young girl by artist Hugo Max Schmitz.

Watercolor portrait of young girl by artist Hugo Max Schmitz.

Portrait of young lady by artist Hugo Max Schmitz, oil.

Portrait of young lady by artist Hugo Max Schmitz, oil.


Hugo Max Schmitz and Warren Reynolds Schmitz, presidents of Schmitz-Horning Co.

October 29, 2016

By Janet Dodrill

Hugo Max Schmitz holds his young son Warren Reynolds Schmitz, in 1905.

Hugo Max Schmitz holds his young son Warren Reynolds Schmitz, in 1905.

Schmitz-Horning Co., and mural and wall covering manufacturing and printing company, was founded around 1905 (or possibly earlier) in Cleveland, Ohio by Hugo Max Schmitz and William Horning (“Will” or “Bill”). They were artists and lithographers.

Hugo was born in Wisconsin and traveled to Cleveland in the late 1890s, joining the Art Club, and befriending (and even traveling with) several established area artists. He was a talented artist, and wanted to offer high quality art that was affordable for people’s homes, thus the idea of reproducible art murals and papers.

Hugo was acting president, and Mr. Horning sold his interest in the company around 1920.

Around 1926, Hugo’s son, Warren Reynolds Schmitz, came to work at the company as Vice President and worked in sales after graduating from Miami University of Ohio (where he excelled in Debate Club).

hugo max schmitz

Hugo Max Schmitz of Schmitz-Horning Company, Cleveland, Ohio.

Hugo was my great-grandfather and Warren was my grandfather.

The company had longevity in its employees, and many had multiple family members who worked there. They printed on two of the largest chromolithographic custom presses in the world (a third one being in London), and oversized zinc plates had to be shipped from Germany. The color lithographs exceeded a 40″ x 80″ sheet size and were printed in oil-based inks on high quality paper and were fully washable.

It was most likely one of the top ten wall covering manufacturers in the country of its time, and Hugo Schmitz was considered and authority on the Frieze, a continuous pictorial wall mural, and published articles in Decorator and Architectural trade journals.

In 1938, Warren Schmitz became president of Schmitz-Horning, after a tragic automobile accident and death of Hugo, 72. Also killed was family friend Margaret A. Hale, 66, wife of the late George W. Hale, builder of Cleveland’s Alcazar Hotel. Hugo’s wife, Pauline “Queen” Reynolds Schmitz was injured but survived.

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.

With Warren at the helm, he produced new patterns and product lines including scenic panoramics, working with several notable area artists, and developed sales and marketing materials including catalogs and small-scale wall scenics view books.

Warren Schmitz (“Bud”), ran the company until around 1960, and Schmitz-Horning Company closed. A bookkeeping document shows that a sale of S-H equipment to another local wallpaper firm occurred around 1964. A newspaper ad for the wall coverings sold through The May Company can be seen in The Plain Dealer in the 1964. Warren died at the age of 65 in 1970.

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