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 Walter Emerson Baum  (1884 - 1956)

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About: Walter Emerson Baum
 

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Lived/Active: Pennsylvania      Known for: landscape-rural, snow, and townscape painting

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BIOGRAPHY for Walter Baum
Facts/Data
Birth
1884 (Sellersville, Pennsylvania)
 
Death
1956 (Sellersville, Pennsylvania)

Lived/Active
Pennsylvania


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Often Known For
landscape-rural, snow, and townscape painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Walter Emerson Baum, well known as the critic for the "Philadelphia Bulletin" and for his landscape work, was born in Sellersville, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, in 1884. His entire life was spent in Sellersville, where he painted landscapes of the local countryside, and cityscapes depicting the antiquated architecture of his and other local towns.

He received his initial training in 1904 from William Trego, a painter of military scenes. He entered the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts six years later, in 1910, and studied with Thomas Eakin's teacher, Thomas Anshutz. Daniel Garber, an influential member of the New Hope Landscape School, and member of the Academy's faculty, also influenced Baum's work and style.

Baum often painted the area's seasonal changes working en plein air, occasionally painting snowstorms in the snowstorm itself. In the mid 1930's, he traveled to Europe, painting and visiting many museums. His trip was relatively short as he was eager to return home and resume painting the Delaware Valley's scenery.

His works were completed in tempera, watercolor, oil, and pastels, numbering more than 2000. Although most of his paintings were landscapes, he completed many quaint cityscapes of nearby Allentown and Manayunk.

In 1921, Baum began teaching art, and founded the Baum School in Allentown. For thirty years, ending in 1956, Baum worked as art editor and critic for the "Philadelphia Evening" and "Sunday Bulletin", writing more than 500 reviews. He died in 1956.

Source: David Zellman, "300 Years of American Art"

Biography from Williams American Art Galleries:
Walter Emerson Baum, the second of five children, was born in Sellersville, Pennsylvania on 14 December 1884.  Although he grew up in a musical family, he studied art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and later received an honorary degree from Lehigh University.

Baum was a prolific artist who exhibited in over one-hundred fifty museum exhibitions and received over thirty major awards.  Baum gained nationwide recognition when he won the prestigious Sesnan Gold Medal in 1925 at the Pennsylvania Academy of Art Annual.  He went on to win the Zabriskie Prize in 1945 from the American Watercolor Society and the Medal of Honor in 1953 from the National Arts Club.

Baum, whom many consider the “father of art in the Lehigh Valley,” became an important promoter of art in the area.  He wrote extensively on the subject for the Sellersville Herald, the Doylestown Intelligence and the Allentown Evening Chronicle.  He also lent his expertise and criticism to the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin and the Philadelphia Sunday Bulletin serving as art editor and critic for both as well as for the publication, Two Hundred Years, a study of the Pennsylvania Germans and their heritage.

His dedication to the prolongation and preservation of art culminated with his founding of the Lehigh Art Alliance and co-founding the Allentown Art Museum. Between 1918 and 1926, Baum taught art classes at his home in Sellersville.  After a student suggested that he offer summer art classes in Allentown, Baum founded his own school of art in 1929.

Besides directing the Baum School of Art, Baum worked as the first director of the Allentown Art Museum and amassed a major regional art collection of the period. In June of 1956, Baum retired as director of the Baum School and the Allentown Art Museum.   Later that month he wrote his last column for the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin. Soon after, on 12 July 1956, he died of a heart attack.

Biography from Gratz Gallery & Conservation Studio:

Walter Emerson Baum, born in Sellersville, Pennsylvania in 1884, is the only New Hope Impressionists actually born in Bucks County. Widely celebrated for his Impressionist snow scenes in the tradition of Edward Redfield and Walter Schofield, his style was bold and painterly. Many of his canvases were painted using the plein-air style. Baum captured the now largely developed Pennsylvania countryside and farmland. He also depicted the charm of Main Street America as it once was. He was an extremely prolific painter and today his works are among the most sought-after paintings in the New Hope Impressionist School.

Baum attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1905 to 1906. He was awarded over thirty prizes and awards from 1918 to 1957, including the Jennie Sesnan Gold Medal at the PAFA in 1925. Not only revered as a fine painter, Baum was a writer for the Sellersville Herald and the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, where he was an art editor and wrote hundreds of newspaper articles in his career. Baum was a major force in the Lehigh Valley art world, as a teacher and a founder of the Allentown Art Museum and the Baum School of Art. Today his paintings hang in many major museums, including the Michener Art Museum, PAFA, Philadelphia Museum of Art, National Academy of Design, the Allentown Art Museum and Woodmere Art Museum.

Baum's impact on the arts extended far beyond just his paintings or his writings. He offered art classes at his home for almost ten years between 1918 and 1926. In 1926, he began offering summer classes in Allentown. Within two years, he established the Kline-Baum school (later renamed to the Baum School of Art).

Walter Emerson Baum died, where he was born, in 1956.


Biography from Newman Galleries:
Born of Pennsylvania Dutch extraction on December 14, 1884, Walter Baum painted among the villages and cities of these people.

A pupil of W. T. Trego and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, he was a member of many organizations, including the Philadelphia Art Alliance, the Philadelphia Sketch Club, the Germantown Art League, the Fellowship of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Philadelphia Watercolor Club, Associate of the National Academy of Design in New York, the Salmagundi Club, the Woodmere Art League, and many others.

Baum was the art editor of the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, editor of the Sellersville Herald, a contributing artist of the Curtis Publishing Company, an illustrator for Story Classics, director of the Allentown Museum and head of Kline-Baum Art School in Allentown, PA.  He was also a member of the New Hope Art Associates.

The artist was a recipient of many awards, including the bronze medal from the American Artists’ Exhibition in Philadelphia; the Jennie Sesnan Gold Medal from the Pennsylvania Academy; the Zabriskie Prize from the American Watercolor Society; and the Purchase Prize from the Buck Hill Art Association.

He exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy Annual Oil and Watercolor Exhibition; the Corcoran Art Gallery Biennial, Washington, D.C.; the National Academy of Design, New York; the Chicago Art Institute; and at many others throughout the country.

Baum’s paintings are represented in many private and permanent collections, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Toledo Art Museum, National Academy of Design, and the collection of the late President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Walter Emerson Baum died in 1956.

Biography from The Caldwell Gallery - I:
Walter Baum was born in 1884 and had a long and diverse career as a painter, museum director, teacher and critic. He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and apprenticed under Thomas Anschultz. Baum chose a more academic route in his art while other American artists were celebrating more artistic freedom. He produced more than 2,000 works in oil, tempera, watercolor and pastel.

His artwork is generally divided into two distinct groups; landscapes of Delaware River Valley, illustrating woodlands, creeks and the countryside, and cityscapes of surrounding towns with detailed architecture, intense pure color and objects outlined in bright black.

In addition to painting, Baum co-founded and supported the Lehigh Art Alliance in the 1930s. He also served as Director at the Allentown Museum of Art and headed the Baum School of Art. He wrote over 500 reviews for the "Philadelphia Evening Bulletin" and continued to exhibit work at the PAFA annually from 1914-1954. Baum received the Sesnan Gold award from PAFA in 1925. He is often considered the "Father of Art in Lehigh Valley".



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