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Gustave Baumann's "Procession"
— Santa Fe & Taos


May 24, 2015


Intro

Gustave Baumann (1881-1971) is widely recognized as one of America’s finest and most collectible color woodblock printmakers. Born in Germany, Baumann with his family, immigrated to the United States in 1891 and settled in Chicago.



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  • Writer
    David Clemmer

Gustave Baumann (1881-1971) is widely recognized as one of America’s finest and most collectible color woodblock printmakers. Born in Germany, Baumann with his family, immigrated to the United States in 1891 and settled in Chicago. Baumann moved to Santa Fe in 1918 and began to produce the body of work for which he is best known. Baumann's reputation has grown steadily over time from that of a locally notable talent, to regional importance, to national prominence as an exemplar of the arts and crafts woodcut revival.

Gustave Baumann’s classic print Procession dates to 1930. It is one of a small number of images to which Baumann applied metal leaf in order to achieve a heightened distinction between fore- and background. (Not all pulls of Procession include metal leaf, and those without are known as “blue sky” versions.) The process required Baumann to carve a separate woodblock for the areas where he wished the metal to adhere. This block would be used to apply a thin layer of glue to the print. When the glue was tacky, the aluminum leaf (Baumann favored aluminum, as silver would tarnish) would be laid down on the sheet. When the glue was dry, the excess leaf would be carefully brushed away. It is most likely that the scene portrayed in Baumann’s print is the annual Corpus Christi procession—a picturesque event recorded by other notable Santa Fe artists, including Gerald Cassidy and John Sloan. Winding from St. Francis Cathedral around downtown Santa Fe, the procession typically includes local girls celebrating their First Communion. Dressed in white frocks with white floral wreaths or veils, the girls are accompanied by nuns in black habits as they pass beneath a large flowering apple tree.



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