Wisdom on Wednesdays—The breakdown of civilization

Lady in Garden

Lady in a Garden, pastel on paper, c. 1922, 14¼ x 11¼ in.
A portrait of Schmitt’s wife Gertrude done outside his studio in Silvermine.

“Can our national virtues of Comfort, Wealth, and Success be reconciled with the Cardinal Virtues of Chastity, Poverty, and Humility?  I am afraid that the answer must be honestly faced.  And the answer is, No.  The breakdown of civilization has probably been caused by the attempt to reconcile the two sets of ultimately contradictory, exclusive values.”  (1943)

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Wisdom on Wednesdays—“Is there anything more real than poverty with a family?”

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Shack where Schmitt stayed on his property in Silvermine before his marriage.
Pastel on paper, 14 x 11 in.

“Critics comfortably off and cosmopolite tell me that it is fatal for me to live alone in the woods and paint, that I must not separate myself from humanity, reality. . . . Humanity?  Is there anything more human than ones own children?  Reality?  Is there anything more real than poverty with a family? (except death, which is also tasted each day)?”  (1931)

Wisdom on Wednesdays—Making oodles of money

Portrait of H. K. Wick [11410]

Portrait of H. K. Wick, oil on canvas, 1917, 28 x 23 in.
Butler Institute of American Art; gift of Mrs. H.K. Wick, 1934.
Read the story of Carl Schmitt’s struggle to paint this portrait here.

“To be quite healthy the soul must be large enough to either (a) face the risk of poverty by concentrating on things more fitting to man’s nature and end, or (b) take the responsibility of making oodles of money and giving it away to the unworthy as fast as it is made.”   (1942)

Wisdom on Wednesdays—The Religion of Progress

“Can our national virtues of Comfort, Wealth, and Success be reconciled with the Cardinal Virtues of Chastity, Poverty, and Humility?  I am afraid that the answer must be honestly faced.  And the answer is, No.  The breakdown of civilization has probably been caused by the attempt to reconcile the two sets of ultimately contradictory, exclusive values.  After listening to all the arguments against a ‘vicious and criminal poverty,’ ‘suffering brought about by ignorance and sin,’ and ‘failure due to lack of prudence,’ I must still repeat that Christ was uncomfortable and suffered. Christ was poor, and He was a Failure.  There is still holy suffering, holy poverty, and holy failure, as we shall discover when we have failed.”  (1943)

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Carrying the Cross, etching, 1922, 7 x 13 in.