Michener Art Museum

Walter Emerson Baum


Photograph of Walter Baum by Bob Stevens, 1953, courtesy James A. Michener Art Museum archives
NONFICTION WRITER, PAINTER, PRINTMAKER
BORN: December 14, 1884, Sellersville, Pennsylvania
DIED: July 12, 1956, Sellersville, Pennsylvania


One of the few Pennsylvania impressionists actually born in Bucks County, Walter Emerson Baum painted the Pennsylvania landscape in the styles of impressionism and American realism. Having lived his whole life in Sellersville, Baum was described as the man "who discovered the beauty of Main Street." Baum worked en plein air, painting snow scenes outdoors from nature even in the worst winter storms. He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts under Daniel Garber, William Trego and Thomas Anshutz, winning the Jennie Sesnan Gold Medal in 1925.
Baum was a cofounder and the first director of the Allentown Art Museum, established in 1939. H established the Kline-Baum Art School ( later the Baum School of Art) in Allentown, and the Bucks County Traveling Art Gallery.
As an instructor, Baum was respected and inspiring.
Baum was also a prolific writer and worked as art editor and critic for the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin and wrote a book, Two Hundred Years, about the Germans of Pennsylvania.