Carl Schmitt Exhibit Opens in Bridgeport

by George Fite Waters
The Wilton (CT) Bulletin, March 19, 1947

As a sculptor, I found the exhibition of 24 paintings by Carl Schmitt at the Art League of Bridgeport so unusual that I hope a few remarks of mine may be of interest. I say “unusual” as Carl Schmitt, over some 17 years of experiment, has redeveloped the cinquecento technique of painting in glazes over a gesso-like ground. The method that gives to the old masters their brilliant translucent depth, that gem-like color value that no straight painting, for all its virtuosity, seems able to attain.

But Carl Schmitt is not simply a technician copying an ancient method he has developed. His own technique of color by depth of application is a result, I say, of long personal experiment.

There is a portrait of the artistís son, Portrait of Peter painted in this way, on panel board, having a quality of brilliance that takes one straight back to the Renaissance. Beyond this technique, in itself so exciting to me as a sculptor, Schmittís sense of functional color is so satisfying in its constructive three-dimensional force.

In this age of so much aesthetic neurasthenia, it is satisfying, indeed, to find a painter that leads on to good path of fine colors; fine, because of its constructive value, its almost sculpturesque feeling of volume. This also means color harmony in the true sense, as Cezanne knew it. Color that is beautiful in relation to other colors, not only in itself as pigment. For instance, Carl Schmitt held up a white envelope against the robe of the Christ in his “Christ and Mary Magdalene” —a robe of apparently luminous white—to show that the pigment was actually a pure light rose. Christ and Mary Magdalene In relation to the whole key of the picture, its function was whiteness, but the rose gave one, unknowingly, a sense of glowing light.

There are several religious canvasses, each done in a certain key of color—blue, red, etc.—as a piece of music in a chosen key.

The still-lifes are remarkable. Carl Schmitt seems to be able to bring the same sense of indoor peace and contentment that the old Dutch masters gave their interiors.

It was strange, on Saint Patrickís Day in Bridgeport, to walk into a room aglow with the richness and stimulation of a Renaissance artistís studio.

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