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Christian F. Schmidt

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Christian F. Schmidt

(Minneapolis, MN, August 28, 1928 - April 22, 1974, Minneapolis, MN)

B.S. 1956 from the University of Minnesota College of Education with distinction, per Prizewinner, Mid-West Designer - Craftsman Annual exhibition in 1957 organized by Art Institute of Chicago. Included in "84 Contemporary Jewelers" article in Design Quarterly 33, 1955 1956: Instructor in art department at University of Minnesota; appointed teaching assistant for art for 1956-57 "Christian Schmidt was a Minnesota studio jeweler who exhibited at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in 1955. He did magnificent designs based on intricate plant and pod forms. He was a friend and colleague of Ruth Roach. He exhibited at the 1956 "American Jewelry and Related Objects" competition in Rochester, New York where he won "Best in Class Awards" for a silver and gold pendant and a gold and ebony bracelet as well as a purchase prize for a silver bracelet. He also won awards at the 1959 Midwest Designer-Craftsmen competition and the 1958 and 1959 Minnesota State Fair Fine Arts Competitions. He was considered to be one of the foremost designer-craftsmen in the United States during his short career and was one of twelve jewelers whose work was accepted for exhibition at the Brussels World's Fair. His work is featured in both of my books, Modernist Jewelry, 1930-1960, The Wearable Art Movement and Form & Function, American Modernist Jewelry, 1940 - 1970 and was included in the exhibit "American Modernist Jewelry, 1940 - 1970" at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, 2008.' From the catalog for Crafting Modernism: MidCentury Art and Design (Museum of Art and Design, 1912: "Christian Schmidt received his B.S. in art education at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, in 1956, studying under Philip Morton, who had established the jewelry program in 1948. Schmidt then taught crafts at the university for a year while continuing to work on his own jewelry. He worked as a precious-metal caster for a ring manufacturing firm for five years and taught art in the city's public schools as well as jewelry making at the St. Paul Gallery and School of Art. Believing that the U.S. lacked a traditional or national style of jewelry, Schmidt felt free to experiment. In his own studio he constructed forms inspired by natural objects such as seedpods, plants, marine life, and insects. Some pieces joined disparate materials - silver or gold inlays in ebony panels, combined to create a bracelet, or a polished stone or pearl set into a silver or gold pod for a pendant. Schmidt used fusing and lost wax casting, occasionally working directly with the metal, to achieve his expressive goals. Schmidt's bracelets, pendants, and cuff links were included in national exhibitions in the 1950s and '60s. He won awards at the Fiber, Clay and Metal competitions (1953, 1955, 1959) in St. Paul, MN; at American Jewelry and Related Arts in Rochester, NY; and the Midwest Craftsmen Competitions (1957, 1959), the latter included in an internationally travelling exhibition in 1960, organized by the U.S. Information Agency. In 1968 Schmidt wrote about design and his working methods in a textbook (co-authored with W. Reid Hastie) titled "Encounter with Art" (1969).

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