A founding member of the faculty at the New York Academy of Art, Schmidt earned a BFA from Pratt Institute and an MFA from Brooklyn College. He also studied drawing and painting at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris. He is a Prix de Rome recipient from the American Academy in Rome, and has received painting grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ingram Merrill, Elizabeth Greenshields, and Adolph Gottlieb Foundations. He has been awarded the Classical America Arthur B. Ross Award for painting and won, with Michael Graves, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Clos Pegase Competition. He has had a solo exhibition at Marguerite Oestreicher Fine Arts (New Orleans) and been featured group exhibitions at the Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo, NY), the Arnot Museum (Elmira, NY) the Bayly Museum at the University of Virginia, the Brooklyn Museum, the Gibbs Museum (St. Paul, Minneapolis), and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He is represented by the More Gallery in Philadelphia and the Hackett Freedman Gallery in San Francisco.