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 Karl Herman Baumann  (1911 - 1984)

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Lived/Active: California      Known for: modernist-leaning landscape, marine and still life painting

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Ad Code: 3
Karl Herman Baumann
from Auction House Records.
Third Street Warehouses
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Karl Baumann was known primarily as a landscapist, but his subjects include cityscapes, seascapes and still-lifes. His fascination with nature as a theme is evident in many of his paintings where he seems to capture that element which eludes the average spectator. His landscapes, some abstract in nature, are often dominated by dramatic fields of color balancing against an unseen tension. Baumann's techniques display his intense interest in the behavior of paint as a texture and his skilled creation of color.

Born in Leipzig, Germany, Baumann emigrated in 1929 at age 18 to the United States and settled in San Francisco, California. There he worked as a commercial artist at Schmidt Lithograph with his father for about ten years.

Early in his childhood, he had spent time with his maternal grandparents, and it was his grandfather who helped Baumann develop his interest in art and nature. He started drawing at the age of five with no formal training in art.

In 1939, Baumann took a position working for the United States government's Works Progress Administration (WPA) as an easel painter. In this new and stimulating environment, surrounded by other painters, he was exposed to new techniques and ideas. It wasn't until this period in the late 1930's that he had the freedom to paint and experiment with abstract and expressionist styles. During this time, he painted mostly in watercolor, using bold washes of color paired with outlined images and limited detail.

In 1939, he exhibited at the Golden Gate International Exhibition and continued to show his work locally and nationally at the Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Dayton Art Institute, Ohio.

Between 1947 and 1952, he taught as a professor of painting at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, California. In the late 1970's, Baumann was diagnosed with lung cancer but through a special diet and treatment he was able to fight it and completely recover from it two years later. He died in 1984 of a heart attack.

Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"

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