Random Sketches from Here and There: Gouache Drawings by Gustave Baumann

Gustave Baumann, Country Bridge, Brown County, Indiana, 1915, gouache over graphite on brown wove paper, Gift of Ann Baumann, 2006.236

Through July 29, 2007

The most popular and influential American color woodcut artist of the twentieth century, Gustave Baumann devised a style and technique all his own. Born in Germany, the artist grew up in Chicago, where he was an apprentice in a print shop, then a design studio, while attending night classes in art. In 1904-5, when he spent a year studying in Munich at the Royal School of Arts and Crafts, Baumann learned the techniques of color relief printmaking, then used for advertising and illustration. He returned to Chicago and worked for some years as a commercial artist before deciding to commit himself to fine printmaking, at that time a very unusual career choice. Baumann worked in the little artist's colony of Nashville, Indiana, and in 1918 settled in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His color woodcut views of the Southwest became perennial winners at print exhibitions throughout the world, and they are coveted by collectors.

Baumann worked out his own distinctive method. He traveled the countryside, making plain air sketches in gouache, the size and exact colors of his anticipated prints. Back in the studio, he would mechanically transfer these designs to his blocks. Then he mixed inks to match his gouache colors, and produced his prints from a set of six matching blocks that he carved and printed himself. The Worcester Art Museum has recently received a major gift of prints and drawings from the Baumann Estate, which makes it one of the two chief repositories for the artist's work. To announce and celebrate this gift, the Museum will present an exhibition of about fifty of Baumann's original gouache sketches. Many of these were used in the production of prints, while others have never been exhibited before.

Related Events

Artist Demonstration: Gouache Painting
Sunday, May 13, 12-3PM
Gouache (from the Italian guazzo, “water paint, splash”) is a type of paint consisting of pigment suspended in water, which is heavier and more opaque than watercolor. Come see accomplished visual artist Susan Swinand demonstrate the beautiful art of painting in gouache throughout the afternoon. Held in conjunction with the exhibition Random Sketches from Here and There: Gouache Drawings by Gustauve Baumann. Free with Museum admission.

Related Class

Watercolor and Gouache Workshop
Tuesday's, May 15 – June 26, 7-weeks
Non-Member $155.00 Member $135.00
Painters, expand your horizons using watercolor with opaque gouache. Learn to combine transparent watercolor with gouache and work on tinted papers. View Gustave Baumann's gouaches on exhibit, along with opaque Chinese watercolor paintings and Islamic miniatures. Then take a look at contemporary uses of watercolor and gouache and develop your own style. Supplies for first class: any watercolor/ gouache supplies you have. Learn more by calling 508.799.4406 x3129, browse the Classes brochure, or register online.

The Gustave Baumann exhibit is funded in honor of Baltej S. Maini, MD, FACS, by Fallon Clinic in partnership with Fallon Community Health Plan in recognition of his outstanding leadership in preserving the health and well-being of the citizens of Central Massachusetts. Additional generous support provided by The Richard A. Heald Foundation and The Ruth V. S. Lauer Trust.


Select Images from the Exhibition