Welcome to the William A. Karges Fine Art Blog

Welcome to the William A. Karges Fine Art Blog, where you'll be able to learn about Early California and Southwest Paintings and discover information about Museum Exhibitions, Current News, Events, and our gallery's new acquisitions of original paintings created between 1870 and 1940 by a wide variety of artists. We'll feature biographies, photographs, links to websites of interest to collectors, video tours, and detailed histories of some of California's most influential and intriguing artists. Visit our Gallery at Dolores & Sixth Ave in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California to view our collection of fine paintings in person.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The Woodcuts of Gustave Baumann

"The Loma"
Color Woodcut Print
9 1/2 x 11 1/4 inches



One of America's finest color woodcut artists, Gustave Baumann is widely credited with the revival of this art form in the 20th century. His prints, made from multiple intricately detailed hand-carved woodcuts, 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. 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 United States, Baumann received international acclaim when one of his color woodcuts won the gold medal at the 1915 Pan-Pacific International Exhibition in San Francisco.

The Loma”, (“The Hill” or “The Knoll”), above, is set in Taos, New Mexico, and was printed in 1919. Baumann was perpetually inspired and moved by the area's quiet, secluded, natural beauty, and felt in harmony with nature and the native peoples there. This woodcut is one of the first prints he executed when he settled in Santa Fe in 1918, and he quickly emerged as a leading artistic figure of the American Southwest.


"Church, Ranchos de Taos"
Color Woodcut Print
9 1/2 x 11 1/4 inches


Church, Ranchos de Taos”, printed ca. 1918-19 is also set in the same area of New Mexico, and shows the historic adobe church of San Francisco de Asis, begun around 1772 and completed in 1816. It has been the subject of countless works of art over the past two centuries, and the artist chose the view of the rear exterior of the church with a procession of parishioners at the lower left.



"Talaya Peak"
Color Woodcut Print
13 1/2 x 19 1/2 inches

Talaya Peak”, located near Santa Fe, highlights Baumann's mastery of intense, brilliant coloration with sharp, dramatic contrasts. This luminous rather rare work was created in the mid 1920's and includes the artist's iconic “hand-in-heart” chop, below, which recalls his saying “What you put your hand to, you put your heart behind”.






"Ridge Road"
Color Woodcut Print
11 x 9 3/4 inches


Ridge Road”, shown above, is a tranquil, peaceful scene with a slightly softer palette and muted colors in pale pinks and blues. This early print is held in the permanent collections of both the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Chicago Art Institute.



"Marigolds aka Sunny Messengers"
Color Woodcut Print
11 x 9 3/4 inches


Our final work, “Marigolds”, also known as “Sunny Messengers”, in an octagonal format, is the artist's first floral color woodcut, created ca. 1913-15.


These works are all available for purchase. For additional information and pricing, please contact one of our staff members at (800) 884-4022 or email gallery@kargesfineart.com