Skip to content

Schniewind, Carl O.

    Full Name: Schniewind, Carl O.

    Other Names:

    • Carl Oscar Schniewind

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1900

    Date Died: 1957

    Place Born: New York, NY, USA

    Place Died: Florence, Tuscany, Italy

    Home Country/ies: United States

    Subject Area(s): drawings (visual works) and prints (visual works)

    Career(s): curators


    Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Brooklyn Museum from 1935 to 1940 and Art Institute of Chicago, 1940-1957. Schniewind was the son of a prominent chemical engineer in New York who studied art as a hobby. After the early death of his father, his mother returned to Germany with her two sons in 1914. In Germany he contracted tuberculosis and was treated in a Swiss sanitorium. He studied medicine at the Universities of Zürich and Bern, Switzerland, before changing fields into art history. He received his Ph.D. at the university in Heidelberg, Germany. Schniewind amassed an extensive collection of Daumier graphics and drawings, which he sold at auction in 1933. The same year he married Heidi Bretscher. The couple lived in Paris until 1935, when Schniewind joined the Brooklyn Museum’s as librarian and curator of Department of Prints and Drawings, succeeding Susan A. Hutchinson. During his tenure in Brooklyn he oversaw the formation of the Department of Prints and Drawings, which separated from the library collections in 1937. Schniewind acquired important European drawings, including those by Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, and Edgar Degas. He left the Museum in 1940 to head the Prints department at the Art Institute of Chicago, succeeded in Brooklyn in 1941 by Una E. Johnson. At Chicago, Schniewind mounted the 1941 show “The First Century of Printmaking,” writing a catalog with Fogg Museum curator Elizabeth Mongan. In 1944, his Posada exhibition was one of the first in the United States to showcase this Mexican graphic artist. Schniewind understood the value of acquiring entire sketchbooks of artists. Under his direction, the AIC’s department acquired the sketchbooks of Paul Cèzanne, Odion Redon, James Ensor, Theodore Gèricault and Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, many of which were published as scholarly facsimilies. He also acquired important drawings by Rembrandt, Fragonard and Watteau. While one a buying and research trip in Italy, he died of complications of tuberculosis with which he had struggled his entire adult life. Schniewind was a connoisseur and scholar who took advantage of the works-on-paper art market to acquire magnificent examples of both modern and old-master prints and drawings.

    Selected Bibliography

    and Mongan, Elizabeth. The First century of printmaking, 1400-1500. Chicago: Art Institute/R. R. Donnelly & Sons, 1941; and Gamboa, Fernando. Posada, Printmaker to the Mexican People. Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 1944; A Sketch Book by Toulouse-Lautrec. New York: C. Valentin, 1952;[collections:] Die Daumier-Sammlung, Carl O. Schniewind, New York: ausgewählte Lithographien, Holzschnitte, einige Originalhandzeichnungen, Versteigerung in Leipzig … Leipzig: C. G. Boerner/Bern: Gutekunst & Klipstein, 1933.


    Adams, Frederick B. Carl O. Schniewind, 1900-1957. Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 1958; “Brooklyn Museum Department of Prints and Drawings.”; [obituaries:] “Carl Schniewind, Art Curator, 57; Head of Print Department at Chicago Institute Dies.” New York Times August 30, 1957, p. 19; Rich, Daniel Catton, and Mayor, A. Hyatt. “Carl O. Schniewind.” Chicago Art Institute Quarterly 51 (November 1957): 90-1; Mayor, A. Hyatt. “Carl Oscar Schniewind (1900-1957).” College Art Journal 17, No. 3 (Spring, 1958): 301-302.


    "Schniewind, Carl O.." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

    More Resources

    Search for materials by & about this art historian: