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!


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