Paul Hammersmith (1857 - 1937)

Birth date: 1857 Death date: 1937  
Birth location: Naperville, Illinois Death location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin  
Media: Graphic Art , Painting , Photography Web site:
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Paul Hammersmith
Born 1857 in Naperville, Illinois
Died 1937 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Paul Hammersmith was the son of Herman and Emma Hammersmith, both educated émigrés from Prussia.  He was one of ten children raised on a farm in Naperville, Illinois.  Although Paul wanted to be an artist, his father apprenticed him after high school to be a watchmaker and engraver.  

At age 19 in 1876, his creative craft brought him to Milwaukee.  Hammersmith went to work for Stanley and Camp Co. on Wisconsin Avenue and Broadway, and lived on Kane Place on Milwaukee's East side. In 1898, when the company closed, Paul went into business for himself and established The Hammersmith Engraving Company in the McGoech Building on East Michigan Street.

In 1917 he and his son Paul W. incorporated the business with Silas Kortmeyer, a printing manager, and the business became known as Hammersmith-Kortmeyer Company Engravers and Printers.  His etchings were produced from sketches done on travels to New Orleans, Amsterdam, Boston, Cape Cod and Illinois.  He also traveled to Jasper Park in the Canadian Rockies, but lost his sketchbook on this trip. In 1930, he took a family trip to Cuba and did a series of prints on Cuba.  
Hammersmith was one of the founders of the Men's Sketch Club of Milwaukee, an organization still vital today, and was a member of the Wisconsin Painters and Sculptors in 1923.  He was a prolific printmaker. Paul died at age 80 in the fall of 1937.

Selected Group Exhibitions

1923 Milwaukee Art Institute, Wisconsin, 10th Annual Exhibition of Wisconsin Painters and Sculptors
1932  Milwaukee Art Institute, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Painters and Sculptors 19th Annual Exhibition, awarded Best in Show for marine subjects 
1982  Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin, Reflections on the Milwaukee Journal Gallery of Wisconsin Art 
1983  Charles Allis Art Museum, Paul Hammersmith 1857 - 1937 
1996  Bergstrom-Mahler Museum, Neenah, Wisconsin, Collecting the Art of Wisconsin:  The Early Years 
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