Wisdom on Wednesdays—Ultimately contradictory values

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—“Take care of the concrete”

13240 - Peace

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)

Wisdom on Wednesdays—The world’s best obeyers

Portrait of Griswold Hurlbert, oil on board, 15 x 12 in.

“We Americans are the world’s best obeyers when it comes to obeying money and machinery.  We stand in line, jump to attention, get out of bed, go to work, sit at table or generally obey any mechanical contrivance which immediately dictates to us, and not a person.  But what power to place in the hand of the man who sets all this machinery in motion!”   —from the essay “Obedience” (1936)

Wisdom on Wednesdays—Prosperity as an ideal

Gertrude Holding Baby, March 29, 1926, charcoal on paper.

“Prosperity as an ideal (the philosophy of cunning) is sterile.  An institution, a society, or an individual based upon it is doomed, because it contains not in itself either the seed of birth or rebirth.  Its appeal lies in the fact that while it lasts it succeeds perfectly.”  (October 1929)

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)