Everyone knows the hypnotic landscape paintings of caspar david friedrich – romantic painting par excellence, created with meticulously applied craftsmanship. Not all modern artists cultivate these old-fashioned techniques; indeed, after the second world war, realistic, representational art generally fell into disrepute.
Such considerations hardly play a role for wolf schmidt; he keeps away from the discourse of art theory. Realism is practically in the genes of the sudbadener born in 1948. For the architect with a doctorate, any dream images and unworldly abstractions were probably an imposition. And so in his own work he sticks to familiar subjects and preserved procedures – and thus in a kind of retro art again creates surprising visionary experiences.
Schmidt creates the beautiful. Beauty has no purpose. And yet some of his watercolors have served the preservation of beauty. When the master builder came to bamberg in 1980 after studying and spending time abroad, he was employed by the state office for the preservation of historical monuments in western lower franconia, z.B. Karlstadt, competent. The fronts between homeowners and their authorities were hardened. His paintings, anticipations of the final view, convinced the owners of problematic renovation cases to try renovation – and they, like the preservationists, were satisfied.
Schmidt recovered from his work at the state office from the end of 1980 by creating art – although he had already practiced drawing and watercolor as a schoolboy and student. A. Through correspondence courses. The works on display in spring 2017 in the simply titled exhibition in the rooms of the mediengruppe oberfranken in bamberg date from the years from 1987 to today.
For a writer it would be: created for the drawer. At an artist? Painted for private depot perhaps. For the first time schmidt shows his paintings. Also no collecting exhibitions, no begging for space in cafes or department stores. Presumably the architect was too absorbed by his professional work. For the visual arts the weekends remained.
Five pictures a year
Moreover, the technique he preferred prevented coarser excesses. He paints coarse-format panel and canvas pictures in oil, layered on top of each other in many layers. The (time-)consuming glazing technique allowed only two to three pictures a year, now in retirement it’s five to six. The perfectionist betrayed that he gave up graphic techniques altogether and gave away his printing equipment. For this he makes the frames of his pictures himself. His favorite subjects are landscapes: the black forest, lake constance, but also the bamberg grove.
The preoccupation with perspective benefits his architectural painting. The "pantheon or the "longing (from the basilica in vicenza) reveal the quasi geometrically trained eye of the expert, architecture is not depicted photographically, but staged. People are rarely seen. An exception is the finely crafted "il maestro delle colombe", that shows a boy with pigeons on a piazza in verona. In smaller formats, watercolors mostly, schmidt also devotes himself to still life, studies such as animals or turknaufen. Since a few years also portraits of actors formerly working at the bamberger theater belong to his artistic portfolio.
His wife gabriele pfeff-schmidt, former district architect, involved in the theater club, was certainly not uninvolved in the mediation of the portrayed. After some thought, schmidt names the rough portraitist john singer sargent as a possible model, jean-honore fragonard perhaps, adolph von menzel, all realists, caspar david friedrich of course. Schmidt admires its finesse and technology. But basically he is a solitary, self-referential artist, also through his motifs, which reflect biographical stages.
It is an old-fatherly looking painting. Or again not? The simple motifs, the precisely hit moods conveyed by light radiate calm, soothe the viewer. Also a method of deceleration.