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Art Exhibitions & Collections

Mountain Dusk

Mountain Dusk
Schnirel, James
Mountain Dusk
Acrylic, collage on canvas
Permanent Collection
Accession #
Miller Campus, Karen G. Miller Conference Center, 100A


James Schnirel (1931 - 2008) was born in Geneva, New York, where his early years were spent in his father's carpentry shop, wood working, drawing and print making. During his two-year career in the United States Navy, Schnirel was drawn to the aesthetics of Japanese art and culture. Later, in college, he was inspired by the organic school of thought led by architects Frank Lloyd Wright and Bruce Goff when he studied architecture at the University of Oklahoma.

When Schnirel relocated to Utah in 1962, he began his 25 year career at Salt Lake Community College, initially teaching architectural drafting. He went on to hold many positions including Division Chair of Graphic Arts, Dean of Technical Occupations, Dean of General Education, Acting Vice President for Instruction and a year as Acting President for the college.

At age 37, he began designing and building his family’s home and studio in Summit Park. Surrounded by pine, aspen and oak, he painted landscapes that capture Utah’s wild beauty using a wide range of styles and techniques which evolved over the following decades. His masterful use of watercolors combine rich colors with impressionistic strokes to create seemingly effortless renderings of idyllic natural settings. Later in life, using mixed media and acrylics, he created stunning abstract expressionist landscapes that challenge the viewer to make sense of a pink crystalline mountain range against a deep purple cosmos, or a molten magenta and yellow sunset over hazy red rock mesas that could just as easily be a churning gaseous storm over Jupiter.

Schnirel served as the president of the Utah Watercolor Society and on the board of directors of the Park City Artists Association, National Watercolor Society, and Intermountain Society of Artists. He exhibited widely in Utah, including at the Bountiful Davis Art Center, Springville Museum of Art, and Kimball Art Center among many others. Additionally, during his life, he won several awards and honors, including the Award of Merit for the 1984 and 1987 Utah Watercolor Society annual shows. In 1985, Schnirel was among several Utah artists invited to contribute to the exhibition “Utah Landscapes" at the National Museum of History in Taipei, Taiwan.

Schnirel’s paintings live in the collections of many private individuals, collectors, corporations, schools and colleges around the world. Fifteen of Schnirel’s paintings are part of Salt Lake Community College’s permanent art collection and are displayed at the Taylorsville Redwood, South City, Jordan and Miller campuses.