Gustave Baumann [1881-1971]

Gustave Baumann was born in Germany in 1881. His family immigrated to the United States in 1891, settling in Chicago. At the age of 17, Baumann was working for a commercial engraving house while attending night classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Returning to Germany in 1905, Baumann enrolled in the Kunstgewerbe Schule in Munich where he studied wood carving and mastered the European technique of color wood block prints. After a year in Munich, Baumann resettled in Chicago, supporting himself in the commercial art field while searching for a place to inspire his fine art. In 1910, Brown County, Indiana offered him such a place. Being a village of few distractions, the hills, valleys and people of Nashville became his subjects. Gustave Bumann produced a portfolio of color woodcuts entitled “In the Hills of Brown” and five large format color woodcuts. His largest woodcut, The Mill Pond, measures 25″ x 33″ and was the largest color woodcut produced at the time. These works were shown at the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, where Baumann won the gold medal for printmaking. His color woodcuts had already been included in the 1911 Paris Salon and numerous exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago and the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis, where his first solo exhibition was held in 1913.