Gustave Baumann was born in Magdeburg, Germany in 1881. When he was ten years old, his family immigrated to the United States and settled in Chicago. As a teenager, the young artist apprenticed at different commercial engraving houses in Chicago, including the Franklin Engraving Company. In 1901, Baumann opened his own print studio at 667 Osgood Street in Chicago and began taking night classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. After becoming a United States citizen in 1904, Baumann traveled back to Germany to study arts and crafts at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Munich and honed his skill in woodblock printing, the medium for which he is most known.
After Baumann’s artist friends returned from a trip to Taos, New Mexico, they delighted him with stories about the famed artist colony, leading Baumann to travel to the Southwest himself. After spending the summer of 1918 in Taos, he visited Santa Fe. There, the director of the Museum of New Mexico, Paul Walker, offered him a studio in the basement of the museum. The artist remained in Santa Fe until his death on October 8, 1971.