Walter Carl Schmidt (1889 - 1962)

Birth date: 1889 Death date: 1962  
Birth location: Young America, Wisconsin Death location: West Bend, Wisconsin  
Media: Drawing , Illustration Web site:
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Walter Carl Schmidt

Born 1889 in Young America, Wisconsin

Died 1962 in West Bend, Wisconsin

Walter Carl Schmidt was born into a family of German woodworkers who settled in Young America, Wisconsin, in 1860. Walter moved with his parents to West Bend after his father’s business was destroyed by fire. The Schmidt family ran a wagon and sleigh building factory located where the M&I First National Bank’s parking lot is today.

Walter grew up in a family of artists. His grandfather was a talented cabinet maker and his father, Fred Schmidt, was an accomplished artist. After graduation from West Bend High School, Walter pursued art education at the Layton School of Art in Milwaukee. During his art school years, he married Margaret Day of West Bend and together they had three children, Margaret, Audrey and Jacque. At the same time that his family was growing, his artistic ability was increasing. Walter was offered a coveted scholarship to study in Europe, which he passed up due to his family obligations.  It is interesting to note that the scholarship was passed on to Robert von Neumann who would go on to a stellar career in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and nationally.  Instead, Walter continued his study at the Chicago Art Institute and graduated from the Meyer Booth School of Art in Chicago with a degree in commercial art.

Schmidt subsequently worked as a photographer and graphic artist, but he is best known for his political cartoons. Intended to evoke social awareness at an international, national and local level, Walter’s cartoons were published by The Chicago Tribune and the West Bend News from 1912 to the mid 1940’s.

Later in life, Walter Schmidt became politically active serving as West Bend’s mayor from 1956 – 1960 before dying in 1962.

© 7/11/2007 Museum of Wisconsin Art, West Bend, Wisconsin                                                                6/2/2010

Wisconsin Affiliations

No affiliations were found.

Wisconsin Art Organizations

No art organizations were found.

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