FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 22, 2008
Santa Fe, NM—A new permanent exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts highlights Baumann’s many talents, featuring some of his more obscure, yet beautiful, work. Gustave Baumann: A Santa Fe Legend opens Friday, February 17, 2006, in the Women’s Board Room. Friday evenings are always free at the museum.
Born in Germany in 1881, Baumann eventually settled down in Santa Fe, taking inspiration from the New Mexican countryside for many of his woodblock prints. In 1931, he began carving his “little people”—marionettes that he toured around the state for many years. Baumann’s legacy lives on today through replicas of his loveable little people, who entertain young and old alike at the Museum of Fine Arts annual Christmas festivity.
A highly prolific artist, Baumann carved sixty-five marionettes during his lifetime. His marionette self-portrait, as well as marionette representations of his daughter and actress wife, Jane Devereaux Henderson, will be on view in the new exhibition. These pieces will be presented with other marionettes, including his camera-toting “Tourist.”
Baumann began his wood-cut prints by making gouache paintings of a local scene. These opaque watercolor paintings relied on flat planes of color and were used to resolve the color relationships of the resulting print. Baumann used the original painting as a template to cut the multiple woodblocks used to print the finished image. The exhibition will include a pair of these images—the gouache study, and final study of “Santo Domingo Pueblo.”
Showcasing Baumann’s genius and versatility, the exhibition will also display the artist’s oil painting, “Winter Ceremony Deer Dance,” as well as exquisitely hand-carved chairs that he fabricated before World War II.
On February 17, 2006, MFA will also open another permanent exhibition, Georgia O’Keeffe’s Legacy in New Mexico, in the Beauregard Gallery (see separate press release). Curator Joseph Traugott said, “These presentations of works by O’Keeffe and Baumann will offer museum visitors a rare look at the creativity of these two iconic New Mexico artists.” Traugott organized these two exhibitions not only for public enjoyment, but also, he added, “to celebrate the breadth of the museum’s permanent collection.” The museum has over 1,000 prints, drawings, paintings, and marionettes by the legendary Gustave Baumann.