The unique woodblock prints of Hoosier artist Gustave Baumann are now on display at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
The exhibition “Gustave Baumann, German Craftsman — American Artist,” features 104 works by the renowned woodblock printmaker.
The German-born artist put Brown County on the national map a century ago with his woodcuts of the picturesque scenery around Nashville. Baumann’s techniques reinvigorated a centuries-old printmaking tradition, leading him to become a central figure in the American Arts and Crafts movement.
Baumann printed multiple impressions of his landscapes, assuring affordability to the everyday public, which was a goal of his work.
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Baumann also made prints of beautiful scenery in other areas of the country, including the Southern California, Cape Cod and the Southwest.
Exhibition highlights include local prints including “Grandma Battin’s Garden (1927),” one of Baumann’s best-selling prints. The work was inspired by a local attraction in Nashville — Sarah Battin’s colorful garden of hollyhocks, marigolds and black-eyed Susans at her cottage on the edge of town.
“Ridge Road (1916-1918),” illustrating the hillside road leading north out of Nashville, Baumann’s home from 1910-16, is also on display. The road was later paved and renamed State Road 135.
As a tribute to Baumann’s work, artist-in-residence printmaker Leslie Dolin is working in a custom-built printmaking studio within the IMA, where guests can watch woodblock carving and printing demos and create their own prints to take home. Workshops require advance registration.
“The Autobiography of Gustave Baumann,” published by Pomegranate Press and edited by IMA curator Martin Krause, will accompany the exhibition and will be available for purchase in the Museum Store.
The exhibit is open through Feb. 14. It is one of the programs helping kick off Indiana’s 2016 bicentennial celebration.
Complete details are available at imamuseum.org.