‘Go West Said a Small Voice: Gustave Baumann and Dreams of New Mexico’, opens Aug. 14 at the New Mexico Museum of Art at 107 W. Palace Ave., in Santa Fe. Courtesy/MOA
In 1918, artist Gustave Baumann moved to New Mexico, where the formidable yellow and red landscapes and open skies dramatically changed his aesthetic, shifting his palette from monochromatic neutrals to the brilliant and vibrant colors that have come to define his western landscapes.
Baumann also encountered a diverse cultural environment like nothing he had experienced before, which will be showcased in “Go West Said a Small Voice: Gustave Baumann and Dreams of New Mexico,” a new exhibition set to open Aug. 14, at the New Mexico Museum of Art (MOA).
On display until Feb. 13, 2022, “Go West” explores not only Baumann’s iconic landscapes but also his interaction with the art of the mission churches and the cultures of the Pueblos through his classic woodblock prints and his marionettes.
Baumann was part of a movement of artists journeying to the West and experiencing this part of the country both in similar and very different ways. The exhibition will make these comparisons, drawing on the works of Baumann’s contemporaries for a deeper conversation. Taking the discussion a step further, “Go West” will also feature contemporary artists working with the same inspirations.
“In the 20th century, the works of Gustave Baumann became iconic representations of the American Southwest,” MOA Executive Director Dr. Mark White said. “However, there is often less recognition that Baumann drew upon a wide range of influences, from the German avant-garde to the rich cultural heritage of the Indigenous populations of North America. ‘Go West’ explores Baumann in the context of those influences and offers intriguing insights into the development of his identity as an artist.”
Baumann was one of many artists whose work was radically transformed by the land and the people he encountered. Sheldon Parsons, a New York figurative artist, shifted his focus entirely to the landscape upon moving to New Mexico. Marsden Hartley, E. Boyd, and Manville Chapman each began to incorporate the traditional Hispanic santos into their work, while Will Shuster and Gene Kloss depicted the Native dances.
“Go West” also examines how the diverse cultural influences of the Southwest inspired Baumann and his peers, offering intriguing insights into how he translated his dreams of New Mexico into his pictorial reality.
About The New Mexico Museum of Art
The New Mexico Museum of Art is a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs. Programs and exhibits are supported by the Museum of New Mexico Foundation and its donors. The mission of the Museum of Art is to create authentic experiences that foster a deeper understanding and enjoyment of art throughout our state. With a collection of more than 20,000 pieces of work, the museum brings the art of the world to New Mexico and the art of New Mexico to the world.