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Katherine Schmidt papers, circa 1921-1971

Katherine Schmidt papers, circa 1921-1971

Schmidt, Katherine, 1898-1978

Painter

The papers of Katherine Schmidt in the Archives of American Art were digitized in 2007. The papers have been scanned in their entirety, and total 401 images.

The collection was partially digitized in 2007 as part of the Terra Foundation for American Art Digitization Grant.

Collection Information

Size: 0.2 linear ft.

Summary: The papers of painter and arts advocate Katherine Schmidt measure 0.2 linear feet and date from circa 1921 to 1971. Scattered correspondence, speeches, proposals, meeting minutes, and notes focus primarily on Schmidt's advocacy for federal and state government support of the arts. Printed materials include exhibition catalogs, clippings, press releases documenting Schmidt's painting career and arts advocacy work. Photographs include portrait photos of Schmidt and photographs of Schmidt's drawings. There are two photographs taken by her first husband Yasuo Kuniyoshi of Schmidt with friends at a party. The papers contain little documentation of Kuniyoshi or their marriage.

Biographical/Historical Note

Katherine Schmidt (1898-1978) was a painter from New York, N.Y. Married Yasuo Kuniyoshi, later divorced him. Remarried Irvine J. Shubert.

Provenance

Donated 1982, by Irvine J. Shubert, Schmidt's widower, except for loaned material on microfilm reel 89 which was lent by Schmidt in 1971.

Related Materials

Also found at the Archives of American Art is an Oral History Interview with Katherine Schmidt, December 8-15, 1969, by Paul Karlstrom which includes a transcript available via the Archives of American Art's website.

Funding

The collection was partially digitized in 2007 as part of the Terra Foundation for American Art Digitization Grant.

Location of Originals

  • Reel 89: Originals returned to Schmidt after microfilming.

A Finding Aid to the Katherine Schmidt Papers,
circa 1921-1971, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.schmkath
Author
Finding aid prepared by Erin Corley
Biographical Note
Katherine Schmidt (1898-1978) was born in Xenia, Ohio. She moved with her family to New York City, and around the age of 13 began attending Saturday classes at the Art Students League. She continued her art classes after high school and was taught by F. Luis Mora, Kenneth Miller, and John Sloan. While attending the Art Students League, Schmidt made many friends who would later become prominent members of the New York art community, including Peggy Bacon, Alexander Brook, Reginald Marsh, and Lloyd Goodrich. In 1919 she married fellow art student, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, in Ogunquit, Maine. They lived in Maine during the summers, but settled in Brooklyn, New York. Schmidt began working for Juliana Force at the Whitney Studio Club in 1923, where she also periodically exhibited her artwork. She taught sketching classes for the club and also did various other jobs for Force and Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney until around 1930. Her work during this period consisted of drawings and paintings of landscapes, still lifes, and the homeless and unemployed.
In 1925 Schmidt and Kuniyoshi took their first trip to Europe, spending a year in Paris and Italy and visiting the studios of their American expatriate friends. After another brief trip to Europe in 1928, she and Kuniyoshi bought a house in Woodstock, New York, where they would spend several summers as part of a very active artists' community. In the late 1920s she exhibited and was represented by the Daniel Gallery in New York. In the early 1930s, she became affliated with Downtown Gallery where she became good friends with owner Edith Halpert. She and Kuniyoshi divorced in 1932 and a year later she married lawyer Irvine Shubert. In the 1930s Schmidt became dissatisfied with her artwork and had her last show at the Downtown Gallery in 1939, taking a hiatus from exhibiting for over twenty years.
During the 1930s and 1940s Schmidt became very active in promoting federal and state government support of the arts. She worked with Juliana Force and others on a New York State art bill in the early 1930s, and in 1941 testified for federal appropriations for the arts in Washington D. C. as part of the Citizens Committee for Government Arts Projects. She was also active in the Artists Equity Association.
Schmidt spent many years experimenting with different painting techniques and subjects, and in the late 1950s found a new motif that she pursued for the rest of her life: still lifes of discarded paper and dead leaves. Schmidt died in Sarasota, Florida in 1978 at the age of 79.
Arrangement
The collection is arranged into 4 series:
Series 1: Correspondence, 1939-1951, 1961 (Box 1; 3 folders)
Series 2: Business Records and Writings, 1940-1950 (Box 1; 7 folders)
Series 3: Printed Material, 1925-1971 (Box 1; 4 folders)
Series 4: Photographs, circa 1921-1930 (Box 1; 3 folders)
Scope and Content Note
The papers of painter and arts advocate Katherine Schmidt measure 0.2 linear feet and date from circa 1921 to 1971. Scattered correspondence, speeches, proposals, meeting minutes, and notes focus primarily on Schmidt's advocacy for federal and state government support of the arts. Printed materials includes exhibition catalogs, clippings, press releases documenting Schmidt's painting career and arts advocacy work. Photographs include portrait photos of Schmidt and photographs of Schmidt's drawings. There are two photographs taken by her first husband Yasuo Kuniyoshi of Schmidt with friends at a party. The papers contain little documentation of Kuniyoshi or their marriage.
Provenance
Donated 1982, by Irvine J. Shubert, Schmidt's widower, except for loaned material on microfilm reel 89 which was lent by Schmidt in 1971.
Separated Material
In 1971, Katherine Schmidt loaned papers for microfilming, including correspondence concerning exhibitions, a scrapbook containing clippings, and exhibition catalogs and announcements. The material was microfilmed on reel 89 and returned to Schmidt. The loaned material is available for viewing on microfilm reel 89, but is not included in the container listing in this finding aid.
Related Material
Also found at the Archives of American Art is an Oral History Interview with Katherine Schmidt, December 8-15, 1969, by Paul Karlstrom which includes a transcript available via the Archives of American Art's website.
Location of Originals
  • Reel 89: Originals returned to Schmidt after microfilming.
Processing Information
The the papers were processed to a preliminary level upon accession in 1982 and were microfilmed on reels 3940-3950. The papers were reprocessed by Erin Corley and digitized in 2007 as part of the Terra Foundation for American Art Digitization Project.

Additional Forms Available

The collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Katherine Schmidt papers, circa 1921-1971. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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