- Also known as
primary name: Shindler, Zeno Antonio
- individual; painter/draughtsman; American (USA); Male
- Life dates
- The artist Antonio Zeno Shindler worked at the Smithsonian Institution from after the Civil War until the turn of the 20th century, specializing in ethnographic subjects.
Blackmore loaned his personal collection of photographs to Henry in 1867, hiring Shindler to make copies of them and to help prepare the catalogue for an exhibition that was mounted in 1869, the Smithsonian's first photographic exhibit.
Born as Antonio Zeno in either Bulgaria or Romania, depending on which source for the story one prefers, Shindler was said to have left his homeland after the extermination of his family in a vendetta. Making his way to Geneva, he fell in with a Frenchman named Shindler who took him under his wing, and the two lived together in Paris, where Zeno studied art, taking the last name of his patron. Precisely when Zeno Shindler came to the United States is unknown, but by 1852, he is recorded as working as a drawing instructor at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, where he exhibited regularly in ensuing years.
In Philadelphia, Shindler married a young French woman, Justina Fontaine in 1852, with whom he had a daughter, Isabella, in January of the following year. The couple moved to Washington, D.C., in 1867, where Shindler took control of the prominent Robert W. Addis Photographic Gallery, successor to James Earle McClees, acquiring McClees' daguerreotypes and photographic negatives he had taken of visiting Indian delegations in the 1850s.
Shindler was slow in making copies from Blackmore's images, but his prints were instrumental in helping to mount the exhibition, Photographic Portraits of North American Indians in the Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution. He was hired by Blackmore as well to make oil paintings of some of the images.
After the exhibition, Shindler continued to work with the Smithsonian as a contract employee until he was hired full time in 1876. He remained on staff for another 23 years, doing watercolors, tinting photographs, and performing other work as a painter and artist. He died on August 9, 1899, from injuries sustained from a fall from a streetcar.
- Fleming, Paula Richardson 'Native American Photography at the Smithsonian. The Shindler Catalogue' Washington and London 2003