Alan Schmer: American Painter, Builder & Designer
Born: May 16, 1935 Bronx, NY
Died: September 1, 2013 New York City
Education: Bronx Science High School
Hunter College, BFA, 1956. Magna Cum Laude
Studied with Robert Motherwell and William Baziotes
Style: Abstract expressionism and representational with abstract elements
Shortly after finishing college until the late 1960s, the artist traveled, resided and worked throughout Europe.
In 1958 he met Egyptologist and author, John Anthony West in Ibiza and the two became lifelong friends.
By 1961, Mr Schmer was a registered artist in Belgium. He received Young Belgium Painters honors at the Palais Des Beaux-Arts and exhibited at Brussels Drian Gallery in collaboration with Galerie Les Contemporains.
In Belgium, Mr. Schmer was introduced to Rene Magritte and once dined at the home of the Magrittes with his friend John West. A treasured small sketch given by the master painter to the artist has been preserved.
In Amsterdam, the artist met Berthe Meijer—Holocaust survivor and author with whom he corresponded up until her recent death. He also became friends with Frans Pannekoek, Dutch print maker who has stated that “Alan Schmer—American abstract expressionist—was his true teacher”.
In 1963 and ’64, the artist spent time in France. During this period, a style change occurred in his work: edges sharpened while dimensional and shaped canvasses replaced traditional flat surfaces.
The artist returned to NYC in 1967. Once established, he resumed work and completed a series of hat paintings that may have been inspired by Magritte and some other smaller pieces that departed from past styles to one or two cleanly rendered images.
In 1968, Mr Schmer taught painting and drawing at a special program for adolescents and teens. During this period the artist also completed an extensive poster art and sign series and began the next phase of his life focusing on interior design and fine woodwork.
With the exception of periodic vacation trips mainly in the US, the artist resided in NY for the rest of his life alternating between the home that he and his wife had acquired in the Adirondacks and his NYC studio.
In 2000-2001, inspired by an array of beautiful watercolors he received as a gift, the artist produced an extensive collection of watercolor images mainly depicting Adirondack scenes and sites. This exploration proved to be pivotal and brought about new forms of expression in his work. Ultimately, the artist returned to acrylics with his paintings evolving into the style and content exhibited in his most recent works shown on this website.
The artist was an excellent draftsman. He was prolifically creative and productive. Adeptness and versatility in style, content and medium are hallmarks of his work. He excelled in interior design and had fine woodworking skills.
The artist has paintings in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels and in private collections in both Europe and the United States.
There have been one man shows in Amsterdam, Brussels, London and Gloucester, MA as well as a group show in Manhattan.
His contributions of paintings to specific sales auctions have benefitted youth educational programs.
A group of his paintings are currently on loan at The Cutting Room in NYC.
The artist is survived by his wife Margaret, son Aidan Schmer and family: stepson Rafael Hines, grandson Rafael John Alan Hines, his sister Joan Schmer, and cousin/patron Jack Raffel and his wife Margaret.