Gustave Baumann: Views of Brown County

Gustave Baumann’s woodblock prints of Brown County, Indiana, capture the essence of a simpler time and place: whitewashed homesteads with split-rail fences, men and women going about their chores, children and chickens in the yards--all amid the full colors of the four seasons in the wooded hills around the town of Nashville.

One of the early artists to discover Brown County, Baumann (1881–1971) arrived in 1910 and resided in Nashville for six years before permanently settling in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1918. Decades later, he dreamed of telling the story of the origins of the Brown County artists colony, which had continued to grow and was by then a well-known center for art and tourism. Baumann lamented the absence of written records from the storytellers of those formative days, so he set about writing his own account. To that end, he jotted down his impressions of the landscape, memories of his fellow artists, and anecdotes about the rather colorful townsfolk.

Baumann’s drafts, which he titled “Of a County Called Brown,” were given shape by editor Martin Krause, curator emeritus of the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, who gathered the notes, reminiscences and other writings into the narrative whole presented here. The history of the artists colony is revealed in Baumann’s own voice, “as if it just happened, sort of casual like.”

"Gustave Baumann: Views of Brown County" is thoroughly annotated with details of personal, cultural and historical significance and includes an essay by Krause and a chronology of Baumann’s time in Brown County. More than fifty color reproductions of Baumann’s artworks and over two dozen historical photographs accompany the text.

About the Editor: Martin Krause served for thirty-nine years as curator of prints, drawings and photographs at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, the oldest institutional collector and second-largest repository of the works of Gustave Baumann after the artist’s archives at the New Mexico Museum of Art. Krause is coauthor of "Gustave Baumann: Nearer to Art" and editor of "The Autobiography of Gustave Baumann" (Pomegranate, 2015). His other wide-ranging publications devoted to the history of the graphic arts include monographs on J. M. W. Turner, Robert Indiana and Garo Antreasian.