Explore the creation of woodcut prints through Cottonwood Tassels: Gustave Baumann’s Prints, Proofs, and Process.
Behind every finished woodcut print there are countless preliminary studies, blocks, and trial proofs. Opening on October 14, 2023, Cottonwood Tassels: Gustave Baumann’s Prints, Proofs, and Process illustrates the steps and materials involved in creating an editioned impression of a woodcut print. Curated by Angel Jiang, the exhibition will be on view in the Clinton Adams Gallery through March 9, 2024.
Cottonwood Tassels presents the UNM Art Museum collection as a teaching resource. “When I realized that we have a set of working proofs, wood blocks, and a study that shows the progression of one of Baumann’s prints from beginning to end, I thought we had a great opportunity to use this material to demonstrate the process of making a woodcut,” said Curator Angel Jiang. “The aim is that everyone—from those who have little knowledge of printmaking to students and faculty studying and teaching its history and techniques—has something to take away from this exhibition.”
A master colorist and carver, Gustave Baumann (American, b. Germany, 1881-1971) helped revive and popularize the color woodcut in the United States. Cottonwood Tassels (1943) depicts a cottonwood tree at El Mirador Ranch in Alcade, New Mexico. Baumann executed every step of the printmaking process himself, using color, line, and the medium’s experimental nature to create evocative images of the Southwestern landscape.
Cottonwood Tassels: Gustave Baumann’s Prints, Proofs, and Process invites visitors to explore the craftsmanship and vision that lie behind every finished woodcut print. Through the display of wood blocks, color proofs, tempera studies, and trial impressions, the exhibition showcases the labor, decisions, and deep understanding of materials involved in Baumann’s artistic practice.
Devin E. Geraci, Associate Director of Operations
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