painter, lithographer and art teacher, was born in Switzerland. He came to Victoria in the Scottish Chief , arriving on 8 May 1858, and worked in Melbourne as a freelance artist, lithographer and drawing master. In 1859-62 he was employed by Frederick McCoy, director of the National Museum of Victoria, to draw and lithograph specimen plates for McCoy’s books Prodromus of the Palaeontology of Victoria and Prodromus of the Zoology of Victoria (published in the 1870s). He did similar work for Ferdinand von Mueller , Director of the National Herbarium of Victoria, drawing and lithographing plant specimens for the six volumes of Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae (1859-68), The Plants Indigenous to the Colony of Victoria (1860-65) and Analytical Drawings of Australian Mosses (1864).
For a time he was employed by Julius Hamel and may have lithographed several or all of the portraits in Hamel’s Men of Victoria (Melbourne 1859), although only the portrait of Frederick McCoy is signed by him. In 1860 he lithographed The Crucifixion (after Michelangelo), published by Hamel & Co. His best-known portrait is a lithograph (La Trobe Library) of Ludwig Becker , which he produced free of charge at the end of 1861 for the German Club, Melbourner Deutscher Verein. Exhibited at the 1861 Victorian Exhibition, the Melbourne Examiner praised its remarkable delicacy and high finish. Schoenfeld sent a print to Governor Sir Henry Barkly. His only other recorded work is View on Eastern Hill , published in 1865 by Charles Troedel in Souvenir Views of Melbourne and Victorian Scenery .
In the 1860s Schoenfeld was a paid drawing instructor for classes held by the Melbourner Deutscher Turnverein, but after the club’s premises burnt down in December 1866 he no longer seems to have held the position. In January 1868 he advertised his household effects for sale by auction and stated that he was compelled to leave the colony owing to lack of employment. He did not leave but became increasingly depressed about his circumstances and attempted to drown himself at Port Melbourne. A second attempt at suicide, in a water-filled quarry at Richmond on 21 April 1868, was successful. He was buried in a public grave after an inquest held in the name of Fritz Schonfield. His wife Philipine, née Phen, survived him.
When H.J. Woodhouse gave a lecture on early Victorian engravers and lithographers at Melbourne in 1889 he stated that Schoenfeld had produced examples of lithography so lovely, both in portraiture and still-life, as to render a considerable compliment to Victoria in being able to claim him as a pioneer.