Albert Schmidt was a finely trained artist that was considered the “sixth pintore”
by some New Mexico historians. He started out in Chicago, the son of Dr. Alfred Browne and his wife Louise. Schmidt as a young boy attended the art exhibition at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. It is believed that this experience was formative in Schmidt’s gravitation towards art. He became a finely trained artist, studying at the Art Institute of Chicago under Charles Francis Browne and John H. Vanderpoel; both specialists of landscape genre. He went on to study at the Academie Julian in Paris. He married fellow art student Marjorie Hanson in 1912. They did the grand tour of Europe visiting the major museums studying the exciting arc of paintings from the old masters to the early 20th century modernists.
The Schmidt’s returned to the United during the height of American Impressionism and just before the famous Armory show of 1913. Schmidt’s paintings at the time represented what he learned from French Impressionism but the memories of the Armory show were to have a profound effect on his later work. In the years between 1912 and 1920, Schmidt’s paintings were shown at prestigious exhibitions throughout the United States, including the National Academy of Design in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Carnegie International in Pittsburgh, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco.
In 1921 on a trip from Chicago to California, the Schmidt’s stopped in Santa Fe and fell in love with the landscape. They decided to make New Mexico their home and relocated to the outskirts of Santa Fe the next year. This time period was important for the Santa Fe art colony. Though small in number, the enthusiasm of the early modernists was present. The now famous Los Cinco Pintores came together that year. Schmidt became friendly with the members and sketched frequently with the founding member, Jozef Bakos. Though his work was compatible with its wide range of color and style with the Pintores, he was not a self promoter or joiner and never became part of any of the New Mexico painters’ groups.
Schmidt though was passionate about exhibiting his work. During his lifetime, Schmidt was in the Chicago Art Institute exhibitions every year from 1908 through 1924. He had twelve one-man shows at the Mew Mexico Museum of Art and a solo exhibition that toured New Mexico in 1945.
He died in 1957 and the New Mexican Museum of Art held a retrospective of his work. From there on until the 1990’s, his artistry became forgotten, His widow put all of his work into storage and was not seen again until his granddaughter inherited his collection and brought his paintings back into the public art arena..