"Son of Israel"   Lot no. 3056

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By Harold Von Schmidt (American- 1893-1982)

40.25" x 15.00"
Oil on Canvas
Signed and Dated 'Harold/von/Schmidt/1934' (lower left)



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This piece depicts the Revolutionary hero Haym Salomon. Salomon was born in Poland in 1740 and sailed to New York around 1772, where he soon joined the Sons of Liberty.  Arrested by the British as a spy in 1776, Salomon parlayed his forced position as an interpreter for the Hessians to help prisoners of the British escape and encouraged the Hessians to desert the war effort. Arrested again in 1778, he was sentenced to death, but managed to escape to the rebel capital of Philadelphia, where he resumed his career as a broker and dealer in securities.  Salomon was highly instrumental in financing the Revolution, advancing direct loans to the new United States Congress and also gave generously from his own resources to pay the salaries of many army officers and government officials, including James Madison. When both the Continental Army and Congress ran out of money, Washington appealed to Salomon for help. Salomon raised $20,000 through the sale of bills of exchange enabling Washington to march on Yorktown and win the war.

Elks Magazine, June 1934, illustrated. 
C.S. Hart, George Washington's Son of Israel and Other Forgotten Heroes of History, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1937, cover illustration.

Explore related art collections: $5,000 - $20,000 / 1930s / Historical / Military/Soldiers / Patriotic/Political / Magazine Stories

See all original artwork by Harold Von Schmidt




Harold von Schmidt grew up in the West a generation after Remington and Russell, but had a close kinship with them and the Old West throughout his painting career. A native Californian, von Schmidt was orphaned at five and reared by his grandfather who had been a Forty-niner. His grandfather’s stories, together with his own experiences as a construction worker, lumberjack, and cowhand gave him authoritative insight into the earlier era.

   He studied at the San Francisco Art Institute and the California College of Arts and Crafts, also with Worth Ryder and Maynard Dixon. His first art job was as an art director for Foster & Kleiser, followed by illustrating for Sunset magazine.

   In 1924, von Schmidt came East to study further with Harvey Dunn. He always acknowledged the tremendous effect that Dunn’s teaching had on his career. It was Dunn who taught him to paint the epic aspect of the text rather than the incidental, and he always kept to this high standard.

   He was a member of the American Olympic Rugby Football team at Antwerp, Belgium, in 1920, and was an ardent athlete all his life; he also played baseball, hockey, and coached the local High School football team once he moved to Connecticut. Feeling that an artist should be active in civic affairs, he served as a Selectman for the Town of Westport for eight years, and was on the Board of Finance, the Police Commission, and the Public Library Board.

   During World War I, von Schmidt designed posters for the U. S. Navy; during World War II, he was an invited artist-correspondent for the U. S. Air Force in the European Theatre of Operations, and artist-correspondent for King Features Syndicate in the Pacific Theatre of Operations.

  Twelve of his paintings depicting the westward trek and the Gold Rush of 1849 were hung in the Governor’s office in Sacramento, California; five Civil War paintings are in the permanent collection of the United States Military Academy at West Point, and many others are in important private collections.

   Von Schmidt as a life trustee of the Artists Guild, New York; president of the Society of Illustrators from 1938-41; a member and officer of the American Indian Defense Association; president of the Westport Artists, 1950-51; and a founding member of the Famous Artists Schools in Westport, Connecticut. He was awarded the first Gold Medal by the trustees of the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in 1968, and was elected to the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame in 1959. His biography was published by Northland Press in 1972.