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Gustave Baumann 

One of America's finest color woodblock artists, Gustave Baumann is widely credited with the revival of this art form in the 20th century.

Born in Magdeburg, Germany in 1881, Baumann and his family relocated to the United States when he was a child. They eventually settled in Chicago, where he later worked as a commercial engraver while putting himself through night school at the Art Institute of Chicago. He traveled to Germany in 1904 to study wood block printing at the Kunstgewerbeschule ("School of Arts and Crafts") in Munich. Upon his return to the U.S., Baumann found that the atmosphere of Indiana’s Brown County nurtured his creativity. He received international acclaim when one of his color woodcuts won the gold medal at the 1915 Pan-Pacific International Exhibition in San Francisco.

After trying several other cities, Baumann moved to Taos and ultimately Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he lived for over 50 years, until his death in 1971. He was perpetually inspired and moved by the area's quiet, secluded, natural beauty, and felt in harmony with nature and the native peoples there.

His prints, made from multiple intricately detailed hand-carved woodblocks, are best known for their vivid coloration, striking color contrasts, bright, bold designs, and expert craftsmanship. Many of the works feature his characteristic framing device of tiny dots that serve as a border for the image, and his prints often include the artist's iconic “hand-in-heart” chop which recalls his saying “What you put your hand to, you put your heart behind”.

Gustave Baumann’s artworks can be found in the New Mexico Museum of Fine Art (Don’t miss the extraordinary collection of the artist’s hand carved marionettes). And, there is a very extensive collection at the Chicago Institute of Art, Baumann’s alma mater.

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