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.”
“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.”
“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