Texas Painter Unites Religion and Art in Images Inspired by Jewish Life in the South

By John Pope / The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate

Like any other artist, Maurice Schmidt has found inspiration wherever he goes — in landscapes, at rodeos, in depictions of farm life and in whatever he might see when he walks around town with his sketchbook in hand.

But for Schmidt, 86, what he has seen throughout his life in Texas are more than mere objects to depict on canvas and in woodcuts.

In a video by the San Angelo (Texas) Museum of Fine Arts, Schmidt, who is Jewish, speaks about seeing elements of the divine in what he creates.

In his depictions of farm life, for instance, Schmidt says he sees agriculture as “a union of labor between God, who brings the sun and the rain, and man.

“This helped me bring about the union between my art and religion. You read the Torah and the Bible. It’s all written in metaphors in terms of agriculture. … You don’t have to be a religious person … to appreciate it.”

This philosophy explains why 24 of his pieces are on display in the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience, 818 Howard Ave., through May 31.

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