Karl Baumann Biography

Karl Baumann




Karl Herman Baumann, painter and printmaker, was born in Leipzig, Germany, on December 26, 1911. His father Willie was an engraver and embosser who immigrated to the U.S. just before the outbreak of WWI, working as a lithographer to try to bring his family over. His mother, an artist herself, held a job pouring lead moulds of toy soldiers; this ultimately led to her death by tuberculosis, and Karl was sent to live with his grandparents who helped foster a love of painting in the young boy. By 1929 his father had saved enough to bring Karl to San Francisco in the U.S., where he worked alongside his father as a commercial lithographer.

In 1936 the WPA employed Karl as an easel painter, and he began to gain a reputation as a leading California Abstract Expressionist. He was hired in 1947 by the California College of Arts and Crafts as a professor of painting, and also taught for a time at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He was active until 1976, after the death of his son ended his desire to paint.

Karl Baumann died of a heart attack on January 30, 1984 in San Francisco, California.

Exhibited: GGE, 1939; Oakland AG, 1939 (hon. men.), 1940, 1948; Riverside Mus., 1940 (Calif. WC Soc.); Dayton AI, 1940; CPLH, 1945, 1951; SFMA, 1940, 1942, 1945 (solo), 1949 (solo); Gump's Gal., San F., 1947 (solo); La Jolla A. Center, 1947 (solo); San F. AA, 1949 (prize); PC, 1949; City of Paris, San F., 1945, 1950, 1952-1956 (solo); Portland AM, 1948; MMA, 1952; Cal. State Fair, 1953; Labaudt Gal., 1957 (solo); Mezzanine Gal., Oakland, 1956 (solo); galleries in San Fran. and Los Angeles, 1950s-60s; Maxwell Gal., 1989.