Hugh Schulz Paintings: Tending with Loving Care and Commitment

Hi there, I'm Andrew and a member of the AnArt4Life blog team and Collector of Hugh Schulz paintings. If you don't know who Hugh Schulz is you have missed our previous post on The Hugh Schulz Collector.

Fortunately most paintings a collector purchases do not require restoration as we avoid such expenses if at all possible. But sometimes the desire to own a particular painting has to be weighed against the need for restoration. And sometimes all that is required is a new frame as occurred with a little Hugh Schulz gem I recently purchased.

Miniature painting by Hugh Schulz © S Lindeman

The painting (as shown above) is only 10cm x 15cm and I was attracted to it partly because I had no idea that Hugh Schulz painted such tiny works. It's no bigger than a postcard. According to the Royal Miniature Society, a miniature painting by size should be no larger than 6" x 4.5" inches or 15 x 11.5 cms. This is not necessarily an absolute but what I find interesting is this tiny painting of Hugh's fits precisely into this category.

This was another surprise for me as I had no idea that Hugh painted miniature paintings, I wonder if he did this for miniature painting exhibitions or competitions.

It was in a very insignificant frame, which if anything made the painting look even smaller than it is. I gave it to my painting restorer Duncan Harty trusting him to create a frame which would hopefully bring the painting back to life.

I haven't got a before and after image to show you, but as you can see from the finished product, what Duncan has done is superb, showing how Duncan's mind works in bringing a painting to life. I think this new frame makes an enormous difference and that's kind of funny coming from me as I normally don't really notice the frames, I just go straight to the image.

A collector is always on the lookout for a new addition to the collection and of course the internet art sales sites are a great source of temptation! But the painting that is the main feature of our journey into restoration came via a different source.

Below is an image of Moonlight Lake painted by Hugh Schulz pre 1968 and in a very different style to his later more colourful works.

Hugh Schulz: Moonlight Lake © S Lindeman

This is the view I first had of the painting as one of the AnArt4Life subscribers sent the image to Anne and its provenance in that Hugh Schulz had been commissioned to paint it by the parents of this man's wife.

I was put in touch with the gentleman to see if I was interested in purchasing the painting but I rejected the offer as I didn't think that it fitted in with or complemented my existing collection at the time.

Over a period of twelve months or more I went back and had another look at the photo that had been sent and came to the conclusion that if I was to be a serious collector of Hugh Schulz paintings I shouldn't be too fussy and too choosy about what I was collecting.

For the collection to be an honest representation of Hugh Schulz work it should include what he painted through different phases of his life, so this painting "Moonlight Lake" represents what Hugh was doing in the very early stages of when he took up painting seriously.

Anne and I included "Moonlight Lake" in a post we wrote on the different techniques Hugh Schulz experimented with and perfected over the years.

Hugh Schulz: a Lesson in Technique
Over the past few weeks we have showcased the enchanting works of Australian naive artist Hugh Schulz (1920-2005). Today a closer look at how he painted - all about colour, pattern, texture. Image credit: S. Lindeman

I started corresponding with the then owner and we agreed on a mutually acceptable price and I was told the story behind the painting. It was painted on a commission basis for his in-laws who lived opposite Hugh in Morgan Street, Broken Hill. His wife can remember seeing it about 1970 or before and due to recent information obtained, I believe that it would have been painted a few years earlier as it is signed H.R.Schulz which according to my latest research would indicate that it was painted before 1968. I've checked my thoughts on when I think this painting was created with Hugh's daughter Sandy Lindeman and she agrees with me.

The painting, set on a moon lit night depicts an aboriginal man fishing at what looks like one of the Menindee lakes near Broken Hill in New South Wales.

Section from Moonlight Lake by Hugh Schulz © S Lindeman

On the back, still visible, written in chalk is the title Moonlight Lake. Unlike his later works, it doesn't have quite the attention to floral detail and the soil (and lake surface) is cream - more like the soils around Menindee, New South Wales.

Whilst the detailed patterns and highly contrasting colours that Hugh Schulz became known for are absent, there are signs of his later style. The line of trees and bushes divide the composition into areas which we see in the patterns in the mature Schulz paintings.

Section from Moonlight Lake by Hugh Schulz © S Lindeman

And faint patterns can be discerned in the way he has painted the clouds. Also the trees without leaves which appear in several of Hugh's later paintings are present here.

Section from Moonlight Lake by Hugh Schulz © S Lindeman

This is quite a large painting by Hugh's standard at 60 x 90 cms. The painting was unframed when I purchased it, apparently the original frame disappeared over the years. Also I gather that the painting had been stored in rather unsuitable surroundings so it had a few marks on it and some very small areas where the paint had been damaged .

This is where Duncan Harty came to the fore and created his magic in not only restoring the painting but also reframing it in an appropriate frame for the era in which it was painted. I sent a photo of the newly restored and reframed painting to the previous owner and he replied that it looked similar to how it was in the original frame, which was really pleasing to hear.

Moonlight Lake (Restored) by Hugh Schulz © S Lindeman Photo: Clare Farrelly

I believe it shows Hugh's wonderful ability as an artist quite early on in his career. I love the way he portrays the full moon forcing its way through the clouds creating a mood that I would imagine that one would feel in that clear night atmosphere under a full cool moon, quite amazing ..

This painting at 60 x 90 cms is also relatively heavy as painted on board probably masonite and together with the frame weighs nearly seven kilos.

Tomorrow Anne and I will introduce you to Duncan Harty - Art Conservationist and Restorer. Any serious collector of paintings needs a restorer and I am very fortunate to have access to the magical work Duncan is able to perform on works which have suffered over the passing of time.

© Thank you to Sandy Lindeman who kindly gave permission for the images of the works created by her father Hugh Schulz to be shared on AnArt4Life.