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)

Advertisements

Wisdom on Wednesdays—The triumph of comfort

CSF13234

A Christening Party at Chartres, oil on canvas, 1928, 45 x 54 in.
Inspired by Schmitt’s stay in Chartres 1926-27, this painting was first exhibited at the twenty-seventh Carnegie International exhibition, October—December 1928.  A reviewer called it a “golden gaiety,” “one of those pictures which make you long to be in the place depicted.”

“The breakdown here in America is not due to a negative evil like sin, but to avoidance alike of all negative and positive things like the virtues and vices in the hope that, by postponing both heaven and hell long enough, a Utopia of science may be discovered.  It is thought that if the good can be held off long enough, comfort will triumph.”
—from the essay “Room (with Bath) at the Inn” (October 5, 1941)

Wisdom on Wednesdays—The lyric mood must be kept at all costs

CSF14008

Untitled, 15 x 18 in.
An early painting executed with a palette knife.

“The lyric mood must be kept at all costs and preserved from the terrible enmity of active life. The spirit of the times and of our country is dead against that leisure without which true Religion and true art cannot flourish.”  (December 1924)

Wisdom on Wednesdays—The Fountain of Youth

CSF31039

Nursing the Baby, pen and ink on paper

“The great weakness of us Americans as a people consists in the fact that we cannot quite accept maturity, old age, death, or, for that matter, birth, babyhood.  They are not in our imaginative picture of life.  We try to live apart from birth, old age, death.  We die from ‘perpetual youth.’”  (1939)

Wisdom on Wednesdays—“that leisure without which true Religion and true art can not flourish”

“The lyric mood must be kept at all costs and preserved from the terrible enmity of active life.  The spirit of the times and of our country is dead against that leisure without which true Religion and true art can not flourish.”  (December 15, 1924)

CSF20004

Still Life, pastel on paper, 15 x 18 in.
Inscribed by the artist, lower left: “For Margaret and Bill, Christmas, 1960.”  Margaret and Bill Ryan were close friends of the Schmitts in Silvermine.