"Gus' marionettes were for Ann and the kids..."
Ann Baumann, only daughter of beloved artist Gustave Baumann, died Nov. 15 in Santa Rosa, California at age 84.
Ann grew up as the child of artistic parents in Santa Fe, where she was introduced to poets, painters, patrons, musicians, opera singers, playwrights and the world of social activism. Her childhood was the time of artist Wil Shuster and poet Witter Bynner, and both of these legendary members of Santa Fe’s artistic scene were part of the backdrop of the life she lived on Camino de las Animas just a bit up the hill from Kaune's Market with her artist father and her opera singer, stage actress and community activist mother, Jane Henderson Baumann.
Bynner’s house was just across Old Santa Fe Trail from the Baumann house and was often the scene of planned and impromptu “salons” that were so much a part of the artistic life of our community from the 1920s on. The Baumanns' residence, with the bedroom that was added for Ann and many wooden details carved by Gus (during his lifetime people always called her father Gus), was purchased by the Historic Santa Fe Foundation, has been restored and now is for sale with a protective historic-preservation easement.
As the sole heir to her parents' estate, Ann promoted her father's artwork by donating many of his woodcuts, oils and sculptures to the New Mexico Museum of Art, New Mexico History Museum, British Museum, Cleveland Art Museum, Georgia Museum of Art, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Indianapolis Museum, Worcester Museum and the Library of Congress. She has donated her father's paper archives to the Museum of New Mexico's Fray Angelico Chávez History Library and visitors to the Palace of the Governors print shop can now see an exhibit that replicates her father's studio and watch a video produced by KNME-TV about his life. The video includes an interview with Ann Baumann.
Ann also worked closely with Dan Lienau and Gala Chamberlain of the Annex Galleries in Santa Rosa, the sole representative for the Baumann estate since 1974. Chamberlain is working on Gustave Baumann's catalogue raisonné — the complete list of his works.
I had the honor of working with Ann when I began a series of posters featuring Baumann’s woodcuts for the Desert Chorale in the early nineties. Jim Howard, an artist and member of the board of the chorale, introduced me to Baumann’s work and, through the Zaplin-Lampert Gallery, to Ann. Being herself a lover of music, Ann honored the chorale by allowing Baumann’s images to be used for several years to promote the seasons of this Santa Fe vocal ensemble. In all of our dealings, the care she took regarding her father’s legacy was quite touching and our community is richer for it.
Each holiday season, when the New Mexico Museum of Art mounts performances of Baumann’s marionettes, I am reminded that these wonderful creatures were crafted by Gus to perform for Ann and the children from the neighborhood surrounding the Baumann house on Animas Street.
Since 1964, Ann Baumann lived in Sonoma County, California, where she was a donor to various charities and organizations, including the Santa Rosa Symphony and the Sonoma Land Trust. Both Santa Fe and Santa Rosa have lost a true friend of the arts.