Capturing Hoboken: The Paintings of Judy Schmitt

May 10 - July 5, 2015

The accomplished artist Judy Schmitt may be based in Cape Cod, but since her daughter and son-in-law moved to Hoboken 15 years ago, this city has been a second home for her. Inspired by the artistic tradition of Provincetown, Mass., and many of the experienced artists who live there, Schmitt strives to capture the soul of her subjects in her paintings. She will exhibit 14 of them in the Museum’s Upper Gallery from May 10 to July 5.

Schmitt grew up in the blue collar town of Waterbury, CT, so she appreciates the hidden beauty of the many factory buildings tucked into Hoboken’s cityscape. She is enamored of the beauty and sounds of Hoboken, which she soaks in on walks through the city, or while visiting its parks with her grandchildren. She loves the way the light bounces off the brownstones, and imagines the voices of the families who grew up in them. Her goal is to portray each building’s individual character and charm, using a rich palette of Veneitan red and burnt sienna.

She starts the paintings in plein air, on the street, taking color notes for the trees, the different red-browns of the bricks and grays of the sidewalks, and finishes the canvases in her studio.   

“A major influence was Edward Hopper, who lived and painted in my town,” she says, “and I learned about capturing the light, from my mentor, Steve Kennedy, a wonderful plein air artist.”

Living near the sea in New England, Schmitt is especially sensitive to Hoboken’s waterfront and its rich shipping history. She was so struck by the image of an old pier with the “Hoboken” tugboat, that she felt compelled to use a large canvas to convey the scene in all its rich detail, with the New York skyline in the background. 

The exhibit is supported by a block grant from the State/County Partnership program for the Arts, administered by the Hudson County Division of Cultural and Heritage Affairs.