God, Goats and Pickup Trucks: Visions of Maurice Schmidt’s Texas

“God, Goats and Pickup Trucks: Visions of Maurice Schmidt’s Texas”
Art Exhibit to Open at the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience

NEW ORLEANS, January 9, 2023 – A new Special Exhibition featuring the works of Texan and Jewish artist Maurice Schmidt will open at the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience (MSJE) on January 26, 2023, and run through May 31, 2023.

Titled “God, Goats and Pickup Trucks: Maurice Schmidt’s Visions of Texas,” the exhibition features 23 artworks, including paintings, sketches, prints and sculpture, colorfully depicting scenes both rural and religious, created over Schmidt’s long career. A centerpiece of the exhibition will be the painting, “Herdsmen are we, both we and thy fathers,” a large oil on canvas work that is being donated to MSJE by Schmidt.

Schmidt states that his work, though often illustrating pastoral, workaday scenes such as cows grazing in fields and farmhands transporting livestock, is always in reference to the divine. “There are holy spaces between the soil and the tractor above, between trees and their shade,” the artist has said, noting, “Art that would praise God must touch the human heart.”

Several of the works on display portray more explicitly religious and Jewish subject matter, such as a stark Biblical print entitled “Daniel in the Lion’s Den,” and a vibrant painting of three men draped in prayer shawls, carrying Torahs.

“This is the first collection of fine art paintings that we’ve exhibited,” said Kenneth Hoffman, MSJE Executive Director. “It gives us another way to explore Southerness, Jewishness, identity and community – this time through the lens of one man’s creativity and talent.”

Schmidt was born into a Jewish family in 1936 and grew up in New Braunfels, Texas. He studied art at the University of Texas at Austin and at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and taught in the Art Department at Texas A&M University for over forty years. His work has been shown throughout the US and internationally, including in an exhibition in Tel Aviv.

The museum will present several public programs and art activities while this exhibition is on view. See the events page for more.

The Maurice Schmidt collection is on loan to MSJE from the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts in Texas.

1. Exhibition poster
2. Herdsmen are we, both we and thy fathers. Maurice Schmidt, 2012. Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience.
3. Torah Reading. Maurice Schmidt, 1986. San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts.