We’ve Lost a Master: Richard Schmid, Rest in Peace

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The art world lost a great master Sunday, April 18, 2021. Throughout his distinguished career as a painter, author, and teacher, Richard Schmid was a candid spokesman for what is known as the Grand Manner—a certain mingling of virtuosity and unrestrained joy in art. Richard continued to paint, write and enjoy life with Nancy in the bucolic setting of their New Hampshire home.

Richard was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1934. His earliest artistic influence came from his maternal grandfather, Julian Oates, an architectural sculptor. Richard’s initial training in landscape painting began at the age of 12 with the Chicago painter Gianni Cilfone. Subsequent studies in anatomy and figure drawing allowed his entrance at 18 into the American Academy of Art in Chicago, where he continued into the full range of classical techniques under William H. Mosby.

Throughout his career, which saw more than 50 one-man shows, Richard promoted art education through his books, articles, workshops, seminars, and television presentations. He traveled widely for his subjects, and lived in New Hampshire with his wife, the painter Nancy Guzik. Richard held a Doctorate in Fine Art and was a recipient of The John Singer Sargent Medal for Lifetime Achievement.

“Each one of us is here to make this world a better place through our art,” said Nancy. “What you create is important and who you are is to be treasured, and that together we can fill this world with beauty and make it a better place for all.”

Artist Richard Schmid in front of castle
Richard Schmid strolls the grounds of Abbotsford, the baronial house and estate of the novelist Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832). Richard’s entourage included his wife, Nancy Guzik; his daughter Molly Schmid; Douglas Pringle, an attorney and the president of Wichita’s K.T. Wiedemann Foundation; and Kristen Thies. Photo: Kristen Thies (Fine Art Connoisseur, September / October 2012)
Artist Richard Schmid
Richard Schmid in his New Hampshire studio with his plein air study (left) and the start of Abbotsford House. Photo: Nancy Guzik (Fine Art Connoisseur, September / October 2012)

“I’m saddened to learn of Richard’s passing,” said Fine Art Connoisseur publisher Eric Rhoads. “My deep condolences to Nancy, Molly, Gretchen, his family, and the Putney painters.

“Richard was, for many of us, the greatest living painter. His leadership was unparalleled, his generosity and  passion for teaching influenced millions. He will be fondly remembered by history as one of the greats.

“I have fond memories of painting alongside Richard, watching him paint a portrait as I stood and painted right behind him trying to copy every brushstroke. He and Nancy dined with Laurie and me, and we’ve had the pleasure of representing his books and videos for years. My fondest memory was the day he painted my portrait and sitting around talking  about art afterwards.

“Richard was bigger than life and will be even bigger in death.”

Eric Rhoads and Richard Schmid
Eric Rhoads (left) with Richard Schmid (right), from “The Portrait Project” started in 2007.
Guzik and Schmid painting a portrait of Rhoads
Nancy and Richard painting a portrait of Rhoads

“Richard Schmid was not only a great artist, but also an enormous inspiration to art lovers everywhere, especially artists seeking to refine their own skills,” said Peter Trippi, Editor-in-Chief of Fine art Connoisseur. “His technical virtuosity and charismatic personality came through loud and clear in an array of superb publications, films, and presentations that will delight generations to come. They ensure that Richard will always remain with us, yet as a man he will be missed very much by anyone who ever met him. Everyone at Fine Art Connoisseur sends our deepest sympathy and warmest wishes to Richard’s family and close friends.”

Richard was the author of the hugely influential book Alla Prima, and later, Alla Prima II – Expanded Edition: Everything I Know About Painting, and More. “Contemporary realist artists have always paid attention to Richard’s artistry, workshops, and publications, so it’s no surprise that the original Alla Prima was reprinted 10 times,” said Max Gillies in a Fine Art Connoisseur article.

Gillies continued: In his preface to the expanded edition, Richard extended his gratitude to the readers who “have expressed to me your appetite for knowledge and learning, not only about painting itself, but also about the deeply beautiful philosophical ideas I believe should underlie all of the arts.”

Richard added in the comments, with characteristic modesty, that “my motive in sharing this data is not to convert anyone to a particular way or school of painting, particularly mine. After all, I have always stubbornly resisted all who have tried to steer me onto what they thought was a proper path.”

Nancy and the family will be sharing a longer statement at a future date.

If you would like to send Nancy or the family a card you can do so care of:
Village Arts of Putney
114 Westminster Rd
Putney, Vermont 05346

16 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you so much for letting me know about Richard Schmid. I am so sorry to learn of his passing. I will always remain eternally grateful for his undying generosity for sharing his knowledge with us. He was an amazing artist. I’ll be looking at the skies at sunset. I am thinking the good Lord has put him in charge

  2. So sorry for your loss. Wished I would have met him personally when he was in Colorado but I didn’t know it until he moved back East. He is and always will be a Great Painter a Master who will be missed by so many. Love his paintings and books!

  3. I am sadden by this. I don’t know how many times I got lost looking at his paintings. Then I would look at my painting and realize how very far the distance between a painter and a True Master. I’ll be getting his books out again very soon.

  4. A beautiful tribute. His legacy will live on through his works, his books, and the many live’s he’s touched. Wish I would have met him. My deepest sympathy to all who loved him.

  5. Such sad news. My condolences and thoughts are sent to Nancy and family.
    Richard Schmid was an inspiration to so many artists all over the world and will be much missed.

  6. My heart is so saddened by Richards’ passing. He leaves us all with a wealth of paintings, knowledge from his books and lectures and for those of us lucky enough to be in one of his painting groups (Loveland CO) we have memories & laughter of being with he & Nancy. But it is also an unfillable chasm of loss. My heart goes out us all, but especially to Nancy & his girls.

  7. So very sorry to hear of Richard’s death. I have learned so much from his teachings and through his book Alla Prima. My condolences to the family.
    He painted the most utterly beautiful still lifes and so perfect in his portraiture.
    He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

  8. Only got this news via an email notification from MutualArt. What a sad loss! I first encountered Richard’s painting more 40 years ago, and his painting skills represented the best in contemporary American realism art in my view. Even though I never had the opportunity to meet him in person, I have been hanging a reprint of his flower painting I bought from his store on my dinning room wall for more than 20 years, and still keep the Alla Prima copy I bought when it was published. I collected and saved all his painting images I could find online. Respect and RIP Richard!

  9. I learned so much from him even though I never met him, and still have only touched the surface of what he knew. I really wish I could have met him. He influenced my painting, colors on my pallet and how I set up my pallet. His color chart is a God sent that I have learned so much from. Even the brushes he used, Rosemary & Co. I heard about them indirectly from him. I treasure his book Alla Prima, and refer to it often. He will be missed by many many people including myself.
    I send my condolences to his family and friends.
    May he Rest In Peace.
    Rita C. Gibbons

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