Gallery Artists > David Hagerbuamer Biography :

David Hagerbuamer (1921 - 2014)  Artworks >>

Born in 1921 in Quincy, Illinois, Hagerbaumer grew up during the Great Depression and began duck hunting, trapping, and fishing at the age of eight in order to help support his family. After serving in the Marines in World War II, he returned home and began working as a taxidermist in a decoy factory. He then attended San Diego State College majoring in art but never graduated. Hagerbaumer worked as preparator in the Nevada State Museum and then became a staff artist at the Santa Barbara Museum in 1957. He painted at night and sold his work at shows each weekend. It was at this point that he switched from oils to watercolor because he needed a medium that would dry faster. Soon, he realized that he could make a living selling his paintings, and he dedicated himself to his art full-time. Along with his painting he illustrated a number of books, several authored by Worth Mathewson, and two of his own, “The Bottoms” (1987), and “Waterfowling These Past Fifty Years — Mostly Brant” (1998). (Hagerbaumer’s dedication in this book reads in part “to the little sea geese with whom I’ve kept vigil on many’s the lonely bay”). When Hagerbaumer died on February 23, 2014, Orrelle wrote the following (excerpt from the obituary): With his passing the world of wildlife art has lost one of the great pioneer painters of the 20th century. Celebrated for his art and revered as a man, his legacy is rich and enduring. He was indeed a remarkable man who had a remarkable career. Hagerbaumer’s art reflects the way he lived. A self-professed “river rat,” he never lost his love of the outdoors that started as a boy, roaming the swamps and river bottoms of Illinois. As one writer observed, Dave liked to “slug it out in the mud.” As David Maass once said of Hagerbaumer, “He was truly a sportsman’s artist and has done it all, both with gun and brush.” Hagerbaumer’s paintings touch us with that which is basic and elemental, the attraction of his art lying in the arousal of primal excitement and satisfaction, simply walking over the ground, delighting in the pleasure of our senses. As for the ducks themselves, it might be the sight of bluebills raking the decoys with afterburners at full thrust; mallards in that peculiar slip-sliding motion, adjusting wings for a proper landing; the quick buzz and dash of teal; or pintails dropping in soft descent against a graying winter sky, uniting birds, landscape and viewer in a static tapestry of perfect harmony. During his lifetime, Hagerbaumer showed great versatility in his art, mostly stylistic variations reflecting changes in attitudes and goals. Many earlier paintings are minimalist works — serene, contemplative and marked by oriental simplicity, with birds portrayed against the sky in austere brevity and elegance. Hagerbaumer’s fame rests mostly on his watercolors, but his black-and-white work — etchings, drypoints and drawings — are an important part of his overall work. Along with his paintings, they reflect a grand odyssey, a great adventurous exploration of all the places hunted, the waterfowl pursued, and the varied upland birds brought to hand. From Ask Art Sources include: National Museum of Wildlife Art

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