By Gustave Baumann
Gustave Baumann (1881–1971) began his career as a commercial artist in Chicago. A craftsman by nature, in 1905 he turned his hand to traditional woodcut printmaking. Five years later he joined other artists in the hill country of Brown County, Indiana, where he pursued his goal of creating “good pictures at low cost.”
Over the years, Baumann carved a path into the art world on his own terms. He sought out picturesque surroundings, affordable living, and a peaceful atmosphere conducive to creating his art. He left Indiana in 1917 but never lost touch with his modest beginnings or his desire for a simple life. His journey took him to the Northeast, then to Taos, New Mexico, and finally to the “small, untroubled world” of Santa Fe. He married, raised a family, and became an active member of the community, all while mastering the painstaking art of the color woodblock print.
Written when he was nearing seventy, The Autobiography of Gustave Baumann illuminates the personality of the artist through anecdotes of town and family life, observations of society, and musings about the role of artists and their art.
Edited by Martin Krause, Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the book is thoroughly annotated with details of personal, cultural, and historical significance. Eighty-plus color reproductions of Baumann’s works and three dozen photographs accompany the text.