Maurice Schmidt

Maurice  Schmidt - Melon Vendor

Melon Vendor, 1986-90

Painting oil on canvas  
48 x 72 in

"By the roadsides in the morning or in the heat of the day, the melon vendors' produce seems to suck in the sunlight and generate enormous amounts of coloristic energy. They are like oases in the desert, small places of shade and coolness, quiet and restful, and offering refreshing fruit. The concentration of yellow greens in the sun and blue green as the stacked melons retreat into the deep shade of a covered truck or tent are here contrasted against the gold tint of yet another melon, the cantaloupe. Blues and yellows against golds generate currents of radiant color energies. A single slash of red, exposing the flesh of the watermelon, almost the first stroke of color I put down, proved the most decisive. It remained unchanged throughout the painting process. It is the simple, quiet humanity of the scene that attracts me. These tiny places suddenly appear and always with people sitting quietly, waiting in a spot of shade, like the patriarch Abraham sitting in the door of his tent waiting for strangers. When my father (of blessed memory) was a boy, he would load up watermelons on a mule-drawn wagon in Seguin and go the fourteen miles to New Braunfels, a journey at that time of about three to four hours. He would set up by the train station and wait for the passenger trains to bring in his customers. He was not to return home until all were sold. His wage per day was a single penny. This would have been about 1908." excerpt from the book "Maurice Schmidt, A Life in Art"

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