Archive for November 9, 2012

Artist of the moment….Gustave Baumann….

Gustave Baumann is the most collected of the color woodcut artists of New Mexico. Baumann was born in Magdeburg,  Germany in 1881. Baumann was a chief component of pushing the process of color woodcut. Many artists from Albert Durer to Rembrandt have made etchings(those are my two favorite) but not nearly as many have tried to add color.

Price range info: The artist worked mainly in print mediums such as posters, which can be found for less than $100. Woodcut prints can be found from $1,000 to $25,000. He is probably the most collected of the color woodcut artists. Pencil works can range from $1,000 to $20,000.

For being a printmaker, the artist had a great sense of how to mix color and prints that still had a fresh feel to them. In this clip check out a 1000 piece puzzle made from a print by Gustav Baumann.

This segment was done by PBS on the Gustav Baumann. It lasts nearly thirty minutes, but even watching the first two minutes you can view some of the artists prints and his puppets.

When Baumann was ten years old his family moved to the United States. When he was only seventeen years old he was making a living working for an engraving house. This part of his story reminded me of master artist Everett Raymond Kinstler. Kinstler started illustrating comic books, became a master artist using pen and ink, he studied many years at the New York Art Students League, and now has even painted Presidential portraits.

When he was Baumann he also was a student of the famed Art Institute of Chicago.

He moved back to Germany when he was 23 years old to further study wood, both carving and using woodblocks to produce prints.

Gustave Baumann returned to the United States in 1908 and immediately was making money from his newly acquired skill. The artist moved to Brown, Indiana where an artistic colony was boomed.

Its interesting to note that color prints first appeared in China in the tenth century. The Eastern method was to rub ink on the wood products, this was the preferred technique in America as well. Baumann was unique in this country as one of the few artists who was working with printmaking using the European technique of using oil based inks.

He won a gold medal for his color woodcut the Mill Pond. This was the largest ever produced woodcut at the time.

Baumann then headed west for Taos, New Mexico. He rethought this idea and settled in Sante Fe, New Mexico. In the end Baumann thought the colony in Taos was too crowded.  The Sante Fe crowd was looking for new artists and Baumann jumped in to fill the void.

Gustave Baumann passed away in 1971.

Style wise I love to compare his works to another woodcut master, HIROSHIGE. He lived from 1797 to 1858. Below is a signature example Hiroshige, considered by many to be the best ever in this field of printmaking.

How about creating a woodcut or an etching the next time you get some artistic need to experiment!


Artist of the moment….Will Ryman…

Will Ryman is well known for his very large sized, think public commissions, sculptures of flowers. He was born to a family full of art and artists! His father Robert Ryman, is a well known minimalist artist. His mother, Merrill Wagner, is an artist known for painting monochrome works on steel. His brothers Ethan and Cordy are both artists as well. Must have been a very fun household in which to grow up!

Will Ryman was born in 1969 in New York. He still lives and works out of the city.

Below is a work by Will Rymans father artist Robert Ryman, best known for minimalist works and white on white paintings. Minimalism is best thought of  as expressing an idea or thought using a minimum of lines and basic geometric shapes. Many minimal artists worked with simple grids such as Ryman or Agnes Martin.

The artist’s mother is also an artist. She paints monochromatic works mainly on steel. Below is a great example of her working style.

The artist also was a playwright and screenwriter for twelve years.

A brief clip showing a very large bird project that was made by the artist by forging close to 4,500 nails together.

In this clip see a wonderful rose sculpture that was installed on Park avenue in New York.

Ryman decided to focus solely on sculpture in 2002. First solo exhibition was in 2009.

Some of his most famous works were a large papier mache work titled “The Bed.” This work is included in the Saatchi collection. I love the use of exaggeration and sometimes cartoony feel to this work. Very whimsical and fun piece. The man seems to be totally stressed out. Beer cans and chips are open and ready to be of assistance. Even a cigarette is ready to help the man get through the night. This work is a small piece of performance art as well as a sculpture. You can see how he used his twelve years of set design to develop the piece. Below is the bed.

Sometimes the artist uses recycled materials in his works. In a work titled the New Beginning the artist mixed recycled materials such as bottle caps, crushed cans, and bubble gum wrappers. His rose sculptures have even appeared on the CBS Sunday Morning Show.

I love the Ryman family and place them right up there with other art families like the Gruppes, the Peales, the Wyeths, and the Wiggins. Each of these families had at least three generations of professional painters in their families. Each family even specialized in a certain subject.


Wyeths love realism and tight paintings and drawings. The Peale family was known for still life painting. The Wiggins are known to be great painters of snow laden New York. The Gruppe family is known for painting marine works. The Ryman family is still mainly an abtract family, but with Will leading the way perhaps another Ryman specializing in realism will be next!  I just love the fact EVERYONE in the family does something in the art world! What a great way to live your life!