Published: December 14, 2021
SANTA FE, N.M. — A boutique sale of 61 works by master American printmaker Gustave Baumann alighted the gallery at Santa Fe Art Auction on December 11. It was led by a $30,680 result for “Wash Barnes Cabin, 1912,” one of four large-format color woodcuts of Brown County, Indiana that the artist completed that year. In an edition of 50, the work measured 9¾ by 26-5/8 inches and was initially advertised as suitable for school decoration.
The subject was no doubt alluring to the artist, even if the scene did not convey the story inside. The auction catalog wrote, “Washington and ‘Ma’ Barnes have become part of the folklore of Brown County. As one story goes, the couple physically divided their cabin rather than getting a divorce. Mary ‘Ma’ Barnes lived in the front of the cabin and Wash in the back. When Wash died, his body had to be taken out of a window, as Ma would not allow him to pass through the front door.”
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