In 1941, Commander Karl Schmidt was stationed at Pearl Harbor. He was a career officer in his 23rd year of service and was assigned officer housing on Ford Island. On December 7th, the attack on the U.S. Arizona was just steps from their front door. Officer's houses were shattered with shrapnel and residents weren't allowed ro return to their homes for some time. Katrina Luksovsky of the Ford Island Historical Community Association contacted our gallery, requesting if we learn new information regarding Commander Schmidt, to "Please contact us."
While in Hawaii, Karl painted when he found time. Among our paintings is a recent acquisition of Diamond Head. We speculate this painting was done prior to the attack, as it is hard to imagine him having the time or inclination to do it afterward.
Karl Schmidt was born in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1890. After graduating from Worcester's Polytechnic Institute, he studied in England and France where he In painted coastal scenes of Cornwall and Brittany.
After Europe, the young 25 year old moved to Santa Barbara in 1915. He associated with painters who worked in Alexander Harmer's "mission style" studio. Schmidt painted in a decorative style, with flat planes of color thoughtfully arranged compositions.
1n 1918, Karl joined the Navy. Serving in the Bureau of Aeronautics, his specialty was lighter-than-air aircraft. He rose to the rank of Commander, and pioneered construction of lighter-than-air craft. While in the Navy, he continued to paint, and exhibited in cities in which he was stationed.
His art was quite popular, especially in Southern California. He exhibited widely and many of his paintings were exhibited by California's best galleries and museums.
Karl Schmidt died in Los Gatos, near San Jose, California on Sept. 26, 1962.