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(American, born Germany, 1881–1971)
Wood block for blue
Support: White pine
Overall: 29.3 x 25.2 cm (11 9/16 x 9 15/16 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 2003.241.1
© Ann Baumann Trust
Catalogue raisonné: Chamberlain 110
Baumann did all the work of making woodcuts himself. He used a wide variety of knives, chisels, and gouges to cut basswood blocks, a soft yet durable even-grained wood. Inks were fabricated by grinding dry pigments and mixing them with a varnish base according to the artist’s own recipes. He developed a comprehensive understanding of ink chemistry, learning that each pigment behaved differently; some could not be mixed or overprinted by others. Baumann was fussy about the support for his prints and preferred high-quality, slightly textured cotton or linen papers that ranged in color from ivory to light tan. Woodcut is a relief technique. Excess wood is cut away, leaving the design raised. “Draw directly on the block whatever you want,” Baumann instructed. “Then cut away whatever you don’t want and print what’s left.”
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