The curious thing about Carl Schmitt is that one believes he has arrived at a point of crystallization only to discover that he has gone on to something else. He has developed from the “best student that Emil Carlsen ever had” to one of the few original painters known to us through exhibitions. At first he painted in a decorative manner that was not unlike the work of Puvis de Chavannes. Every time he changed he dug harder into the form of arthe became less and less satisfied with the delightful effects of his surface decorations and gladly met the dubious comments he encountered.
. . . Carl Schmitt has the uncanny power of imparting life to his work. Not by the simulation of vigor through technic but through the ability to make his paintings creative. He is at a decided disadvantage at a large exhibition where the observer cannot isolate Schmittís canvases from the surrounding inanities.
A very rich man in this town once said: “But why didnít someone tell me twenty years ago about these men that are selling at fabulous prices now?” And the one who loved art answered: “But would you have listened?”
That is particularly true of Carl Schmitt. It is not reasonable to suppose that a man can show the amazing endurance that Carl Schmitt has in persevering in his desire to paint and to achieve the profound without some day being “discovered.” The period of waiting is wearisome to those who like to see a young painter encouraged, and it is precarious for the painter himself. There are five paintings by Carl Schmitt in the exhibition and it is to be regretted that there are not five collectors in Pittsburgh keen enough to “see” and acquire them.
Pittsburgh Sunday Post, February 18, 1923
Carl Schmitt, American, in “Peace,” seems to us to have one of the most logical paintings in the exhibition. He has synchronized his idea with his method of expressing it, in form and color. The composition has all the elements to be found in paintinglyric, dynamic, but dominated by the eternal static balance. The painting is one of active repose. To us this picture explains the reason for painting, which is simply that a painter should control forms in space in an arrangement of utter beauty.
Carl Schmitt is a young painter, not yet 35 years old, who forsook the safe ways of style to pursue the idea that haunted him. He was one of Emil Carlsenís prize students and had mastered a poetic and fluent form of painting when he decided he must find graver qualities in art.
He has a capacity for development that few painters possess. He is talented and serious in his determination to put onto canvas the ideas that possess him. Rockwell Kent finds his adventures by removing his physical body to remote places but Carl Schmitt achieves the same separation from the entanglements of routine life by the use of intelligence alone. Kent is the pagan, Schmitt is the Christian knight bent on high endeavor.
“Paintings from International Selected for Tour,”
Pittsburgh Sunday Post, May 11, 1924
“A Gift of Fruit” by Carl Schmitt, American, is one of the distinguished paintings in the Carnegie International exhibition. Schmitt is a young American who has exhibited for many years at the Carnegie Institute and who commands admiration from his colleagues but is yet undiscovered by art patrons at large. His originality of invention combined with his disciplined technic promises a future in which he will be regarded as the logical heir of the great Americans such as Homer and Eakins, even though the language he speaks be quite different from the idiom in which they expressed their pictorial ideas.
The Carl Schmitt, thoroughly modern in style, differs from many modern paintings which are bleak because their genesis is in the intelligence alone. Schmitt enriches his pictorial conceptions through his emotional and spiritual perceptions. His style accordingly is eloquent. Depth, in the painting, is actually achieved by close-knit details logically related, so that every particle is essential to the vitality of the design. Moreover, the whole design has a quality of movement that is more than an adeptly designed surface pattern.
Carl Schmitt seems to be one of the few modern painters whom we know through their works, that promises to survive the flood of the competently commonplace and the falsely modish. It is a verification of the integrity upon which the international exhibition is organized to realize that Carl Schmitt has succeeded year after year in gaining admittance to the internationals without personal acquaintance with a single member of the various types of juries who have selected these so differing shows. He is the logical modern heir of the few great American painters and it adds considerably to the honor of the international to have constantly recognized his talent.
“Closing Day of Interntaional Art Exhibition
to Attract Many Thousands to Institute,”
Pittsburgh Post, December 5, 1926
“A Gift of Fruit,” by Carl Schmitt (American), combines the fundamentals which make for the endurance of the older types of painting and the exciting interplay of form and color which marks the newer movements. Carl Schmitt turned away from the assurance of popularity as a pleasant painter to become one of our potentially great painters, although he works in more or less obscurity. Frequently, his themes suggest religious subjects. He never troubles about the conventional associations of his subjects but uses them to indulge his ardent love for richly colored compositions of involved forms in which the human figure does not distract the eye but is a unit of a coordinated whole.
In modern paintings where the artist sincerely desires to communicate his idea to the spectator, one discovers an accent on the human appeal not through a precise regard for detail but through the more subtle force of intelligently planned design. The design may range from the concentration upon the human alone as in the Buisseret to a play of forms as complex as a Bach fugue, such as one finds in the Schmitt painting.
“Current International Art Examples from Carnegie Institute,
The Scholastic, October 16, 1926