Maurice Schmidt



Maurice Schmidt (b. 1936)

Artist Statement:


I discovered my passion for art at about the age of fourteen when my mother sent me to the and antique shop of Mr. Demuth, my first real art teacher. For years, I had been painting on my own. Coming home from school, I would get my dime store watercolors and drawing pad and execute piles of paintings about whatever entered my mind. I painted scenes I read from books about the Paleolithic cave men, or things I had seen. Mother showed Mr. Demuth some of these pictures and he agreed to let me attend his studio classes. I was not a very confident student, having made mostly D'S in art in grade school. We were taught by non-artist teachers who handed out sheets of pre-printed lifelessly outlined scenes of happy-faced people doing innocuous things. The "art" was to apply color in an even tone and to stay in the lines. You didn't try to mix colors. Neatness was art. I was all over the place in mixing and going out of the lines wanting to do my own ideas. So ingrained was this cursed mode of teaching that the word "art" for me was that subject I was never good at in school. What I did at home, and even later at Mr. Demuth's studio was not "art." It couldn't be. It was fun. It was life. I had no word for it.

Mr. Demuth was a wonderful teacher, soft spoken. He showed you how to do things. His studio was fabulous! I rode my bike through part of the then segregated Hispanic area where his studio-antique shop was located. Inside were objects of infinite variety and color. It was warmed on cold days by a pot-bellied, cast iron stove. When class ended and when the other students had gone, Mr. Demuth helped me to clean up. We sat by the stove and he cast into its flames my excess paint and his. He would talk to me there. He flipped through art magazines showing me paintings by Cezanne and many others. True, he had taught me to carefully "box" objects and measure and draw them "right." Then he told me how these great painters were not afraid to distort, to make one side of a vase different from the other. I learned about modernist art, cubist and abstract, in a simplified way to be sure, but also in a way that took away fear and built confidence. At that tender age, I was spouting names like Cezanne. To many of my friends, it must have sounded like a mispronunciation of Captain Marvel's famous shout, "SHAZAM!"

From my very first lesson there, he put me to drawing ever more difficult objects. I handled them easily with my new learned method of measuring and boxing in. I knew then I would be an artist. What I felt inside was something I have often heard described as a religious experience, a sense of being reborn, or born anew; that sense of one's future path becoming clear as if gates had suddenly opened and a voice said, "walk this path."

Early high school was also most fortunate. Tom Curry, our art teacher, was an excellent painter working mainly in watercolor. He gave me a lot of attention and took me with him to paint landscapes. In one trip, we went to Rockport and Port Aransas, my first glimpse of South Texas. The highlight of these early years was when the diminutive but fierce (seemingly only) librarian, Ms. Van Ells came up to me and asked if I would like to be the art editor of the high school annual. I did almost all the drawings (ink and wash) and I guess, this was my first commissioned work. It was 1951. I was fifteen.



1965-2002                   Professor of Art  Emeritus, Texas A&M University- Kingsville, Kingsville, TX

1974-1989                   Art Critic, Corpus Christi Caller Times, Corpus Christi, TX

1958-1963                   Lecturer, Our Lady of the Lake University, San Antonio, TX

1958                            B.F.A., University of Texas- Austin, Austin, TX 

1956                            M.F.A., Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI

Summer 1956             Instituto, San Miguel De Allende, Mexico

Fall Semester 1958     School of the Museum of the Fine Arts, Boston, MA


Selected Exhibitions

2006    April, One Man Show-Retrospective, Bryant Gallery, Kingsville Texas

2005    May 23rd to June 23 , One Man Show, John E. Conner Museum, Kingsville, October 7th to October 30th' Masters Invitational 2005, Corpus Christi Area Artists, Art Center of Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi, Texas

2001    June 26th to July 14th, Annual Small Works Invitational, Blue Mountain Gallery, New York City, New York. June to July, Rockport Invitational Sculpture Show, Rockport Art Association, Rockport, Texas.

2000    October 13th to November 30th, First Biennial Visual Perspective Invitational, Joseph A.  Cain Memorial Art Gallery, Del Mar College, Corpus Christi, Texas.

1997    Jazz - Preservation Hall Musicians, New Orleans oil painting added to the permanent collection of the Art Museum of South Texas. March to April, Art Faculty Exhibition, Texas A&M University - Kingsville, Kingsville, Texas.

1996    April, Art Faculty Exhibition, Texas A&M University — Kingsville, Kingsville, Texas

1995    Palm, oil painting donated to KEDT Public Television Gallery. March to April, Art  Faculty Exhibition, Texas A&M University - Kingsville, Kingsville, Texas.

1994    January, Art Teachers Art, Exhibition of Art Faculty from TAMUK, TAMUCC, Del Mar College, and Bee county college at the Art Community Center, Corpus Christi, Texas. February to March, Art Faculty Exhibition, Texas A&M University — Kingsville, Kingsville, Texas. June to July, From Generation to Generation, In Memory of My Father and Mother, A one-man exhibit at Our Lady of the Lake University, San Antonio, Texas.

1993    September, Texas A&M University, Kingsville Art Faculty Exhibit of Small Works, Our Lady of the Lake University, San Antonio, Texas. July, Eight Paintings of South Texas Theme, Chamber of Commerce Building, Kingsville, Texas. June, twenty-six paintings on permanent loan in the meeting hall, Jewish Community Council, Corpus Christi, Texas. April, Tribute to Music Exhibit, Ben P. Bailey Art Gallery, Texas A&M University — Kingsville, Painting was featured in the Faculty Exhibit and purchased for TAMUK in conjunction with the "Center of Excellence" program.

1991    August, Woodcut added to permanent collection, Amy Freemen Lee: A Texas Collector, Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas.

1990    January to June, System Art Exhibition Series, Texas A&M University — College Station.

October to November, One Man Show, Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas. April, Biography and work featured in Deep in the Heart: The Lives and Legends of Texas Jews, Published by the Texas Jewish Historical Society, Ruthe Winegarten, author.

1988    February, Yiddish Tradition Through South Texas Culture, Hillel Jewish Student Center Art Gallery, Cincinnati, Ohio. March, Yiddish Tradition Through South Texas Culture, One-man exhibit at Goethe Institute of Houston, German Cultural Center, Houston, Texas.

1987    March, Yiddish Tradition Through South Texas Culture, One-man exhibit at the Multi-Cultural Center, Corpus Christi, Texas.

1985    July, Gettysburg Address Folio of woodcuts and lithographs, Lincoln Home National Historic Site, Springfield, Illinois.

1982    April, One-man show at the Laurie Auditorium Gallery, Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas. Sixteenth Annual National Drawing and Small Sculpture Show, Joseph A. Cain Memorial Gallery, Del Mar College, Corpus Christi, Texas International Group Exhibition, Etchings featured at the United States Cultural Center, Tel Aviv, Israel.

1980    May to June, One-man Exhibit of Prints, Drawings, Watercolors, Oil Paintings and Sculptures, Nuevo Santander Museum, Laredo Art League, Laredo, Texas.


Selected University & Museum Collections

McNay Museum, San Antonio, TX; Amy Freeman Lee  bequest

Art Museum of South Texas, Corpus Christi, TX

Texas A&M University Kingsville Art Collection, Kingsville, TX

Our Lady of the Lake University, San Antonio, TX