Kremser Schmidt


Martin Johann Schmidt, called Kremser Schmidt, Family portrait Martin Johann Schmidt, 1790; 72.4 × 86.4 cm starting price EUR 250,000

“You almost feel like a voyeur,” says expert Mag. Kareen Schmid, “when you suddenly get an insight into a private family interior. Even though it’s at the invitation of the artist who, very interestingly, presents himself and his life story using iconographic details.” It’s very pleasing that this is none other than Martin Johann Schmidt, who has left a unique impression on Austrian art as Kremser Schmidt.

At the age of 72 – just one decade before his death – he decided not to leave anything to chance and to document his view of his life for posterity. He used the language he best understood, the brush. He chose sheets of zinc to paint on, not as valuable as copper, but more unusual than canvas or wood, and in quite substantial sizes of 72 x 86 cm.

And what does the image tell us? That Martin Johann Schmidt, even though he was a genius, simply saw himself as a good citizen, loved his family and looked after them and that he suffered the terrible loss of four children to smallpox, that he was proud of his success, which began with his admission painting to the academy, and proud of his children, who were to have followed him into painting. And it says that he had indeed reached an advanced age but still had the strength to produce art.

Looking at the expressiveness of the faces, the gaze and the body language, the figures achieve a vibrancy such as seen in a film and spontaneously tell stories that have not reached their end.

Mag. Kareen Schmid
T: +43 1 532 42 00-20

Photo: © Auktionshaus im Kinsky, Wien