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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Hall of Heroes: Gustave Baumann

Gustave Baumann has been the single greatest influence on me as a printmaker. Shortly after I began with woodcuts, a Baumann print showed up on an episode of "Antiques Roadshow" on PBS. I was probably only a month or two into printmaking, and I didn't know any woodcut artists. The only woodcuts I'd really seen were the black & white wordless books of Frans Masereel and some graphic design work. Gustave Baumann opened the door to amazing possibilities in print.

A year later, I learned that there was going to be a small display of Baumann's western works at the Chicago Institute of Art. We took the train to Chicago to take in the exhibit, a glass artists' convention, and a lot of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Before settling down in New Mexico, where a museum houses many of his works, Baumann spent a short period of time in Wyoming, NY, a hop skip and a jump down Route 20A here in Western New York. It's fun to match up some of his prints of that time with the landscape in that area.

I have two large books of Baumann's work, and I still reference them when I'm drawing out plans for a print, and I imagine I always will.

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