Baumann made his living in commercial art, designing such items as bookplates, illustrations, and posters, but was also intensely interested in fine art. He joined the Palette and Chisel Club, a group of like-minded artists, who had a country retreat near Chicago at Fox Lake, where members spent weekends sketching and painting. The result of one of these sojourns, Fox Lake Farmyard exemplifies Baumann’s early style. Black outlines the main forms and two or three muted shades of brown, gray, or blue add color. Although this impression of Fox Lake Farmyard is dated 1907, the fact that the title is written in block letters indicates that it—and possibly the date—was written after 1927 when the artist began to use capital letters for inscriptions. The date of 1907 probably refers to the origin of the preparatory drawing rather than to the printing date.
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