Procession is a color woodcut with aluminum leaf by American master printmaker, Gustave Baumann (1881-1971). The blocks originated in 1930 and this impression was printed in 1956. Procession is pencil signed, titled, and editioned III 121-125. It was printed by the artist on cream Zanders laid paper with the Hand-in-Heart watermark. The image measures 13 x 12-7/8 inches. The reference for this work is Chamberlain 136: for an explanation of two editions, we refer you to pages 371-374 of In A Modern Rendering The Color Woodcuts of Gustave Baumann: A Catalogue Raisonné.
Procession is also known as Processional and White Trees and was the third print for which Baumann used metal leaf as a “color.” The tempera study in the New Mexico Museum of Art has a silver sky. Young girls in white dresses readied for their first communion are line up against an adobe wall and the white blossoms of the tree echo the delicacy of the girl’s veils. Procession is a signature work by Baumann and this impression is remarkable for the flawless, leafed sky.
Gustave Baumann was born in Magdeburg, Germany on 27 June 1881. Ten years later his family immigrated to the United States, settling in Chicago. In 1896, Baumann began working in the commercial art field while saving money to study in Germany. After returning from Munich in December 1905 where he studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule, Baumann worked again in commercial art to support his family. In 1909, he discovered Brown County, Indiana where life was inexpensive and he could stay for three months. He produced a series of small format color woodcuts featuring the people and places of Brown County and then produced five large format color woodcuts. His woodcuts were accepted by the committee for the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition and he won a gold medal in 1916. Baumann headed east to Wyoming, New York in 1917 and taught at a summer school. From there he headed to Provincetown and New York City before returning to set up his studio in Wyoming. The southwest beckoned and he headed west in May 1918, stopping in Taos for the summer and fall. His funds were low and he needed to head back to Chicago but first stopped at the new art museum in Santa Fe to see an exhibition of his woodcuts. The rest, they say, is history.