Since 1889: The History of the Conrad Schmitt Studios
The Conrad Schmitt Studios Story
For over a century, Conrad Schmitt Studios has advanced a tradition of excellence in artistry and craftsmanship. Concern for the artistic value of a project is paramount. Studio artisans do more than paint walls or assemble windows - they create enduring works of art.
A Proud Heritage
The Studio was founded in Milwaukee in 1889 by Conrad Schmitt, the son of Bavarian immigrants. The firm remained in the Schmitt family until 1953, at which time it was purchased by long-time employee, Bernard O. Gruenke. Today, the third generation of the Gruenke family is involved in the company, a reflection of the dedication and longevity which typifies the Conrad Schmitt Studios.
The Studio’s roots can be traced to ecclesiastical and decorative art, stained glass, and interior design. Preserving the past through comprehensive investigation, analysis, and documentation is a vital component of the Studio’s business. Conrad Schmitt Studios has conserved stained glass windows designed by famous artists such as Louis Comfort Tiffany, Thomas O’Shaughnessy, John LaFarge, F.X. Zettler, and Mayer of Munich; and restored theatres designed by architects Rapp & Rapp, John Eberson, C. Howard Crane, and Thomas Lamb, and religious and secular buildings designed by Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and others.
In addition to conservation and restoration, the Studio has designed and created art glass and interiors for buildings of architectural and historic significance throughout the country and abroad, including basilicas, cathedrals, churches, synagogues, theatres, train stations, hotels, universities, state capitols, and government buildings.
A Special Way of Doing Business
Although Conrad Schmitt Studios is the largest firm of its kind in the country, the Studio succeeds in maintaining a one-on-one relationship with clients. Whether working with a small committee or a multi-national contractor, Conrad Schmitt Studios’ focus remains the same - client satisfaction and artistic integrity. The Studio works with clients every step of the way, from initial consultations regarding design and fundraising issues, through installation and dedication. However, the involvement does not end there. The Studio ensures that its work continues to live up to client expectations and its own high standards.
Talent and Experience
Conrad Schmitt Studios actively seeks out the most highly skilled artisans and craftspeople from the United States and abroad. Many have been trained in the centuries-old traditions of stained glass, decorative painting, sculpture, and mosaic. Teams of decorative artists work on projects across the country, under the direction of experienced foremen. The staff at the New Berlin, Wisconsin Studio works on a wide variety of art and glass projects, including those that have been carefully transported from locations near and far. Conrad Schmitt Studios’ management philosophy focuses on the team concept. All of the departments work together to create the best art possible.
A Wealth of Resources
Conrad Schmitt Studios has one of the largest inventories of glass in the country. The vast collection contains antique, rolled, imported, and original Tiffany Studio's glass, as well as hand-made stained glass jewels. This inventory was greatly enhanced by the acquisition of glass from several historic stained glass studios. Studio archives contain comprehensive files on past projects, integrating the latest computer technology with the tradition of age-old craftsmanship.
The layout of the Studio facility was designed to promote utmost efficiency. All production takes place on a single level in an open 110’ X 100’ room with over 2,100 square feet of table top surface and over 3,000 square feet of additional work space in an adjoining area. The floor plan follows the sequence of a properly executed project. On a second level overlooking the production area, the Studio also includes over 5,000 square feet for the professional services team and more than 5,000 square feet for the art and tech center.
A Reputation for Excellence
Conrad Schmitt Studios owes its international reputation to the successful completion of projects of enduring quality and beauty. The Studio has been profiled in national newspapers, magazines, and trade publications and is the recipient of numerous awards, both nationally and internationally. But, even more rewarding is our client's satisfaction and the joy that comes from creating lasting beauty.
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To follow an illustrated journey through highlights of the Studio's 128-year history, request the latest CSS full color brochure.