Mark Baum was born in 1903 in Sanok, a village in what is now Poland. He emigrated to the U.S.A. when he was 16 years old and settled in New York City. In his twenties, he began painting watercolors. He switched to oils in the early 1930s and to acrylics around 1970.  Since his formal training was confined to some courses taken at the National Academy of Design and the Cape Cod School of Art in Provincetown, he is considered to be self-taught. During the 1930s and 1940s, his paintings were representational, primarily landscapes and cityscapes. Until the mid-1950s, he worked part of the year as a cutter of fur coats, and in 1954 was featured in an article in Life magazine about artists who supported themselves by working at regular jobs, but soon after, when fur coats went out of fashion, began painting full-time. In this period, he began experimenting with abstract styles, but resisted the trend to abstract expressionism and developed a nonrepresentational style that, like his landscapes, was precise. This style grew and evolved over the remainder of his career. In 1961, he began spending most of the year in southern Maine, near Ogunquit, returning to New York during the winters. He painted until the summer of 1996 and died in Maine in 1997.

 

Mark Baum's paintings have been shown in prominent galleries and are included in several prominent collections. His first one-man show was at the Whitney Galleries (subsequently the Whitney Museum) in 1929. Other one-man shows were at galleries such as the Galerie St. Etienne, the Laurel Gallery, the Salpeter Gallery, the Bleeker Gallery, the Ogunquit Gallery, and the Salander-OReilly Gallery. His paintings were shown also by the Downtown, Harriman, Perls, and Rose Fried Galleries. They were included in national exhibitions at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the Corcoran Galleries in Washington, D.C., and in an exhibition sponsored by the U.S. government that traveled internationally. Two of his paintings were purchased by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and have been shown by the museum. One was reproduced also in a book for children published by the museum, called "Go In and Out the Window." Other collections that purchased his paintings include: the Whitney Museum, and the Frick, Averill Harriman, Borden Harriman, and Alfred Stieglitz collections. His paintings have hung in federal buildings all over the country, because he was supported by the WPA during the Depression in exchange for a painting a week.

 

Mark Baum left behind paintings from all decades of his almost 70-year career. Anyone interested should get in touch with the executor of his estate, William Baum, who may be reached at 611 Mason #504, San Francisco, CA 94108, telephone 415-345-0050, email wbaum@sbcglobal.net or his New York agent, Robert Axelrod, 454 2nd Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215, telephone 718-965-3024, email baxelrod@nyc.rr.com .