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Gustave Baumann (German/American, 1881-1971) Grandma Battin's Garden

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American & European Works of Art - 2284
Date / Time :
September 16, 2005 12:00PM


Gustave Baumann (German/American, 1881-1971)

Grandma Battin's Garden, alternatively titled Hoosier Garden, c. 1916. Signed "Gustave Baumann" in pencil and with hand-in-heart chop l.r., titled in pencil l.l., inscribed "NO 31 OF 100" in pencil l.c. Color woodcut on laid cream paper with partial watermark, image size 12 3/8 x 13 1/8 in. (31.4 x 33.2 cm), framed.
Condition: Light struck, margins 1 inch or more, rippling.

N.B. Gustave Baumann was born in Germany in 1881 and immigrated to Chicago at the age of ten. He began his art career as a commercial engraver during the day while studying at the Art Institute of Chicago at night. After refining his wood-blocking technique back in Germany, his career took off when in 1910 he moved to Brown County, Indiana. He was fascinated by Indiana's rustic frontiersmen, known as Hoosiers, and received a gold medal in Los Angeles in 1915 for his aesthetically simple yet artistically intricate works on this subject. Afterwards, The Christian Science Monitor wrote that "beneath the charm of these fine color block prints there is a fine craftsmanship which has given Baumann a place at the top of this difficult field."
Done in his Hoosier days, this print shows his love for Indiana's simple, rustic way of life. In it he places vibrant summer blossoms in front of a subtly colored house to enhance the vitality of this American garden. He demonstrates his mastery of the intricate coloring process of cutting, inking and printing each wood block to creating the "small untroubled world" of this home. This simplification is the most intriguing aspect of the work-to the artist, each color block represents a part not just of his work but of a kind of life in which all the pieces fit together seamlessly to create a simple existence. With the title "Grandma Battin's Garden", he suggests that this type of living is something to be attained or acquired with age, experience and practice.
Estimate $3,000-5,000


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