Cleveland (January 20, 2021) – Gustave Baumann: Colorful Cuts celebrates the 2005 gift to the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) of 65 color woodcuts and 26 drawings by the artist. These works, most of which have never been on view at the CMA, provide a comprehensive survey of Baumann’s long, productive career. The exhibition also illustrates how he worked and features his color woodcuts and drawings inspired by the landscapes, architecture and cultures of Illinois, Indiana, New York, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and California. While the works on paper exemplify Baumann’s extraordinary vision and skill, his writings, quoted throughout the exhibition, reveal his inner life and thoughts about art. This free exhibition is organized by Jane Glaubinger, the CMA’s retired curator of prints. It is on view now through May 2, 2021, in the James and Hanna Bartlett Prints and Drawings Gallery (101).
“With the reopening of our museum, we look forward to showcasing this generous gift of works from the artist’s daughter, Ann,” said William Griswold, director of the Cleveland Museum of Art. “Gustave Baumann was a master of color woodblock printing, and the works on view allow visitors to appreciate his sources of inspiration and distinctive technique.”
Baumann did everything himself, including cutting a block for each color, mixing inks and printing. The exhibition features Summer Clouds (1926), the only print in the collection for which the museum has the woodblocks and both the color proofs and the progressive proofs. This allows visitors to understand how Baumann printed layers of color to achieve rich effects.
After living in Chicago and rural southern Indiana, in 1918 Baumann settled in Santa Fe, where he spent the next 50 years portraying the natural beauty of the Southwest and California. Exhilarated by the exotic landscape, he developed a sophisticated technique of printing layers of pure, brilliant hues to reproduce the intense, crystalline sunlight and clear, arid atmosphere of the region. Baumann was also captivated by the area’s cultural diversity and depicted the rituals of traditional Native American life and historical sites, including Roman Catholic Colonial-era churches.
“Baumann produced exceptional color woodcuts, traveling widely in search of novel subjects,” said Jane Glaubinger, retired curator of prints. “Mesmerized by the stunning scenery of the Southwest, he depicted shimmering golden aspens, the dramatic light effects and exquisite colors of the Grand Canyon and the majesty of giant redwoods. Re-creating the ambiance of each locale with consumate skill, Baumann produced works on paper that touch viewers through the beauty of his vision.”
The exhibition press kit includes more information and a selection of visual highlights.
Principal support is provided by Kenneth F. and Betsy Bryan Hegyes, Leon* and Gloria Plevin and Family, and the Print Club of Cleveland. Major support is provided by the Ann Baumann Trust.
All exhibitions at the Cleveland Museum of Art are underwritten by the CMA Fund for Exhibitions. Major annual support is provided by the Estate of Dolores B. Comey and Bill and Joyce Litzler, with generous annual funding from Mr. and Mrs. Walter R. Chapman Jr., the Jeffery Wallace Ellis Trust in memory of Lloyd H. Ellis Jr., Ms. Arlene Monroe Holden, Eva and Rudolf Linnebach, William S. and Margaret F. Lipscomb, Tim O’Brien and Breck Platner, the Womens Council of the Cleveland Museum of Art, and Claudia Woods and David Osage.
Visiting the museum’s permanent collections is always FREE to the public. Visitors must reserve FREE entry tickets. The museum’s hours of operation are Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The museum is closed Mondays. The last ticket reservation for the day is at 4 p.m. There will be no new entries into the museum after 4:30 p.m.
For more information about the museum’s new safety procedures, please view the FAQ sheet on the museum’s website at cma.org.
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