Mott Schmidt Biography

Late Works
by Mark Alan Hewitt

During the final ten years of his life, Schmidt continued his professional practice on a limited basis while living in semi­retirement at his home in Katonah. He designed three more houses, an addition to the Caramoor Gallery in Westchester County and a small headquarters for the Colonial Dames of American Reconstruction on East 61st Street in New York, adjacent to the historic Abigail Adams Smith house. Mott Schmidt died on July 23, 1977,at the age of 88. He was honored by a Fellowship in the American Institute of Architects in 1939, and by membership in the National Academy of Design.

In 1980, a retrospective exhibition of his work was mounted by the Katonah Gallery, later travelling to New York City. The success of that show at the National Academy of Design was indicative of the place which his buildings held in the consciousness of New Yorkers. In the exhibition catalogue, Philip Johnson called Schmidt "a man of his time who, I am glad to say, lived long enough to see the tastes of a new generation come full circle from the Modern Movement to a new sympathy, nay empathy, with his own work" Paul Goldberger, reviewing the show for the New York Times, remarked that "it has been attracting architecture buffs from all over the metropolitan area" He continued:

Mott Schmidt was an architect who produced no truly great works of architecture, but an enormous number of very fine ones. His buildings were civilized, in the deepest sense of the word - they were ordered, handsome, knowledgeable, serene places, buildings designed to contain lives that bespoke similar qualities ... Schmidt's gift, which he shared with his best colleagues among the revivalists of his time, was his ability to take the classical vocabulary and use it to create original, varied compositions.