Portrait of Santo Caserta, oil on canvas, c. 1932, 36 x 24 in.
Caserta (1910-2013), a friend of the Schmitts in Silvermine, studied the violin at Julliard School in New York, but had to abandon the instrument on account of a skin condition. He then taught himself to play the cello, and at the age of 46, auditioned for a position in the Philadelphia Orchestra under the legendary conductor Eugene Ormandy. When asked by Ormandy who his cello teacher was, Caserta had to admit that he had taught himself the instrument. Ormandy was so impressed that he gave him the job. which he held for the next twenty years.
Schmitt also painted a portrait of his friend playing the cello.
“There is no hope for mankind.
But there is every hope for an individual man.” (1930)
Portrait of the Artist’s Grandmother, October 1906
“It is easy to love humanity—the trouble comes when we attempt to love our neighbor. Our neighbor is not a vague abstraction but the individual with whom we come in contact in our daily lives.” (c. 1931)
Peace, oil on canvas, 1924, 35 x 42 in.
On seeing this painting at the 23rd Carnegie International Exhibition, a critic for the Pittsburgh Post wrote: “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 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.”
“Take care of the concrete, the abstract will take care of itself. Wealth, health, and peace are not attained by direct pursuit any more than any such abstractions can be attained directly.” (1964)
The Visitation, dated August 11, 1921, pastel on paper
“It is hard to ‘love people’, because ‘people’ is an abstraction. Why not love a person or a family, something concrete.” (1956)
“Neither such abstractions as Humanity alone nor Christianity exist: they must be made once more by something concrete: by Christians, by persons.” (1942)