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Charles Baum immigrated to the United States from the Rhineland, Germany in the wake of the European Revolutions of 1848. He had been a schoolteacher in his native land and had married a former pupil, Susana Schneider. The couple first settled in New York, and subsequently moved to Egg Harbor City, New Jersey, where they would remain except for a short residence in Pennsylvania between 1867-69. Strongly influenced by fellow Rhineland native Severin Roesen, it is possible that Baum was acquainted with the artist and began his artistic career in the studio-workshop of Roesen in New York City.
Charles Baum is known primarily for his still life paintings, one of which was included in the Artists' Sale held by the American Art-Union in New York City in December of 1852. However, he seems to have been versatile, also painting animal pictures and landscapes. Several of these landscapes were included in New York City in December of 1871, in the First Annual Exhibition of "The Palette," or The Palette Club, an art society originally devoted to promoting the work of artists of German descent.
Baum's finely detailed still life paintings were often created in a similar format: on a vertical canvas, with a bounteous arrangement of fruit cascading over a practically hidden multi-dished vessel atop a white marble slab. The artist selected fruits from all seasons, rendered with exquisite attention to detail and contrasting jewel-like colors. He also frequently added such motifs as a bird's nest, a split pomegranate, or a half-filled wineglass. Baum's canvases overflowing with fruits and foliage reflect the Victorian opulence of his time, and the optimism of a New World filled with abundance.