Schwarz Studio is owned by Frank Wagner Jr., who bought the family-owned business twenty years ago after working there since 1978. He and employee Jim Whinnery turn out a wide variety of mounts, which include white-tail deer, Western big game, African big game, turkey and other game birds, waterfowl, fish and reproduction fish mounts. Every year, numerous sportsmen trust the Schwarz artisans to bring their prize trophies to life-like appearances. They have also furnished zoos, museums and schools with mounts.
The studio was founded by Frank Schwarz, a German immigrant who came to St. Louis with an impressive amount of formal schooling. In his hometown of Hanover, he had spent three years at the Academy of Fine Arts, studying sculpture. He had also studied anatomy at Heidelberg University, and served as a taxidermy apprentice at the Berlin Museum.
After settling in St. Louis, Schwarz worked for Singer Sewing Machine Company, and during his free time, built up a clientele for his taxidermy services.
Schwarz Studio opened for full-time business in March 1882 – the same year that the now-St. Louis Cardinals played their first Major League baseball game. As the taxidermy business grew, so did its need for more space; in 1907, the studio moved into a brick building in Lafayette Square and soon became nationally known.
Schwarz is also in the national Taxidermy Hall of Fame for his contributions to the craft. It was he who created the idea of “sculptural taxidermy,” which stretched the animal’s skin over a papier-mâché form instead of merely stuffing it. That innovation is still used today, Wagner said, though the papier-mâché has been replaced by polyurethane plastic forms that show animals in dynamic poses.
As the years passed, Frank began teaching taxidermy to his sons, Max and Paul, who helped in the studio. They also eventually took sculpture classes and learned to sculpt realistic-looking forms that they needed for taxidermy. The finished result, a mount that looked amazingly life-like, further increased the studio’s sterling reputation.
Always on the lookout for creative ways to display taxidermy, Frank early on introduced the use of wood-framed glass bubbles to protect mounts of smaller birds and fish. Featuring hand-painted background scenes, the glass bubbles are an attractive way to display the mounts in virtually airtight protection.
According to schwarzstudiotaxidermy.com; stltoday.com. Source of photos: internet