David Hagerbaumer1921 -
Born: January 31, 1921, Quincy, Illinois
Growing up in Illinois, David Hagerbaumer 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. Ralph Terrill from The Crossroads of Sports recognized Hagerbaumer's talent and promoted his work through the company catalog and gallery, and the artist's work gained national recognition.
Hagerbaumer's artwork focuses almost exclusively on game birds. He is more concerned about the accuracy of the bird form in flight than the texture of their feathers and makes studies from motion pictures of bird flight patterns. Seeing art as a business rather than an emotional act, Hagerbaumer paints very quickly and efficiently. Also, he tends to use the muted colors of winter rather than bright spring or summer hues. He was greatly influenced by Ray M. Mason who taught him the masking technique and how to use a hairdryer for contrast effects. Subsequently, Hagerbaumer has greatly influenced and encouraged contemporary wildlife artists, such as David Maass, and his work has been published in two books, Selected American Game Birds and The Bottoms. Although he no longer produces many works, he continues to carve duck decoys and accepts the occasional painting commission.
(Source: Greenhagen, Liz. "Hagenbaumer: The Practical and Humble Artist," Wildlife Art News (November/December 1896): 65-71).