Baltimore artist Ann Didusch Schuler passed away on May 19, 2010 at the age of 92. Schuler had been represented by Troika Gallery in Easton since the gallery opened in 1997. Born in Baltimore, November 2, 1917, she was a revered painter and beloved art teacher. She was a true Baltimore icon, perhaps best known as the founder and matriarch of the Schuler School of Fine Arts.
Schuler was the fourth generation of a prominent family of artists and artisans whose roots went back to Germany. She received her art training from the Maryland Institute College of Art. After graduating in 1940, she studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Arts in Philadelphia. She returned to the Maryland Institute, where she continued her graduate studies before becoming an assistant to artist and art restorer Jacques Maroger, who had emigrated from France in 1939. Maroger believed in the materials and techniques of the Old Masters’ classical-realist style, which Schuler came to venerate and adopt in her own artwork as result her 21-year assistantship.
In 1945, Ann Didusch married Hans C. Schuler, who was the son of Hans Schuler, the nationally known sculptor who had been director of the Maryland Institute from 1925 to 1951. After the end of World War II, the couple joined the faculty of the Maryland Institute, where he taught sculpture and she was a painting instructor. In the late 1950s, they left the Maryland Institute after becoming disenchanted with the rise of modern abstractionism, which conflicted with their deeply held belief in more traditional methods that included drawing, anatomy and perspective.
In 1959, they opened the Schuler School of Fine Arts at 5 E. Lafayette Avenue, which had been built by the elder Schuler in 1906 and had served as his studio.
Well-known Baltimore watercolorist Frederic “Fritz” Schuler Briggs, who is Mrs. Schuler’s nephew, teaches watercolors and drawing at the Schuler School. She is a legend and a fabulous painter,” Briggs is quoted in Schuler’s obituary. “She emulated the Old Masters and Maroger. She kept that tradition alive, and that’s what the school is all about.”
Ann Schuler’s work included portraits, still lifes, and flowers. Her drawings reflected a variety of mediums, and her work ranged from miniatures to murals. Her work can be found in the Maryland Governor’s Mansion, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and the Lyric Opera House, as well as in corporate boardrooms, educational and financial institutions, hospitals, museums and private collections across the country. Two of her most notable murals hang in the Reserve Officers’ Memorial Building in Washington, DC, with one dominated by George Washington and the other of a Revolutionary War minuteman. She has been honored by the Maryland Historical Society as the state’s senior active female portrait painter. She is a signature member of the Oil Painters of America.
“Even though Ann was a master in her own right,” says Troika Gallery co-owner Jennifer Heyd Wharton, “she was most happy when referred to as ‘teacher’ (which she was for nearly 70 years).”
“She was dearly loved by all of her students,” adds Troika co-owner Laura Era. “Of the 32 artists we represent, seven are from the Schuler School. Ann’s work was wonderful and she painted right up to the end of her life.”
Renowned Baltimore artist Raoul Middleman is also represented by Troika Gallery. “Ann Didusch Schuler was a significant figure of the Baltimore art scene,” he said. “So many artists loved her and were influenced by her school. She was a serious artist and took no shortcuts.”