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Walter Emerson Baum ...
Quakertown foundation displays
paintings by Walter Baum

by Bridget Wingert

He painted New Hope, he painted Perkasie, he painted Sellersville – more street corners and houses than most of us can comprehend.

Walter Emerson Baum knew his hometown of Sellersville and its environs well. A gold medal winner at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, he became known as one of the Pennsylvania Impressionists who worked in the New Hope area. He founded the Baum School of Art, which is now in Allentown.

Quakertown embraced Baum through his career and many Quakertown children were his students. Now Quakertown is reaching out to preserve Baum’s legacy.

Last May, the Quakertown Community Education Foundation presented an exhibit of eight recently restored Baum paintings at Quakertown Junior-Senior High School. Martha Hutson-Saxton of Allentown, author of a Baum biography, spoke about the artist to an audience of about 200 gathered to see the original paintings.

Kathleen O’Dea, a fine art consultant, worked with the foundation to conserve and reframe the Baum paintings. She and Hutson-Saxton spoke to students earlier in the day about the Baum paintings.

The Erwin J. and Gertrude K. Neusch Fund of the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation, the Grim, Biehn and Thatcher law firm and Quakertown National Bank were the major contributors to the Baum project.

J. Lawrence Grim, a principal of the law firm, is a grandson of Walter Baum. The eight paintings are hanging in the school’s lobby at 600 Park Avenue.

The largest painting, “Conversations,” which won Baum his gold medal at PAFA, was presented to the high school in memory of Pfc. Gary Holland, who was killed in Vietnam in 1968. “Provincetown Boats” was purchased by the Class of 1923 and a watercolor, “Haycock Mountain,” was presented by the Class of 1938.

The foundation commissioned Encore Editions of New Hope to make giclée reproductions of the eight Baum paintings it owns. The foundation also has Walter E. Baum note cards available for sale. Each pack of 16 note cards includes two cards of each of the eight Baum paintings with a description of Walter E. Baum’s career and legacy on the back.

Proceeds benefit the QCEF with the plan to build a permanent secure display case in the high school.

To order note cards or prints contact 215-529-2002 or qcsd.org.

Carolyn Cavallo of Newtown admires Walter Baum's "Conversations"
at the display in the Quakertown Junior-Senior High School.

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