Gustave Baumann

German-born American , 1881 - 1971

A native of Germany, Gustave Baumann immigrated with his family to the United States in 1891, settling in Chicago. In 1896, he apprenticed himself to the Franklin Engraving Company and he worked in the commercial art field for the several years supporting his mother and siblings. He attended night classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and on August 16, 1904, he sailed for Germany to attend the Kunstgewerbeschule in Munich where he studied wood carving and learned techniques that would serve him well in his career. He returned to the U.S. in December 1905 and began producing color woodcuts as early as 1908. Baumann discovered the beauty of Brown County, Indiana in 1909 and split his time between rural Nashville and Chicago. In 1910, he produced a series of color woodcuts of the region and his Mill Pondof 1913 is the largest color woodcut produced at the time. These new color woodcuts were awarded the gold medal at the Pan Pacific International Exposition in 1915. The summer of 1917 found Baumann in Wyoming, New York teaching summer school. Visits to New York City and Provincetown followed and in the summer of 1918, he headed to Taos, New Mexico. After the summer Baumann discovered Santa Fe where he remained until his death in 1971. Besides his amazing body of color woodcut Baumann painted, carved marionettes, created sculpture, built furniture, wrote and illustrated books, penned scripts for plays and was the coordinator of the 13th region of the PWAP in New Mexico. A catalogue raisonné on his color woodcuts is expected to be published by late 2008.
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