In 1966, two years after his retirement as a compositor and Linotype operator, Klumpp visited Brooklyn’s Red Hook Senior Center seeking activities and companionship to fill his days. The director suggested that he join the art group and try his hand at painting. His first work was a portrait of Abraham Lincoln. His next works were landscapes. Soon he began to develop his fantasies into paintings. In 1972, bachelor Klumpp wrote, “My philosophy of art painting which is expressed in the visualization of painting beautiful girls in the nude or semi-nude and in fictitious surroundings including some other paintings of dream like nature.”
Lynda Roscoe Hartigan Made with Passion: The Hemphill Folk Art Collection in the National Museum of American Art (Washington, D.C. and London: National Museum of American Art with the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1990)
Gustave Klumpp grew up in the Black Forest Mountains in Germany, where he apprenticed as a typesetter. He immigrated to New York in 1923 and worked as a printer for more than forty years. After retiring, he joined a senior citizens center in Brooklyn, looking for “something to do.” The director of the center encouraged him to start painting and so Klumpp began by copying a portrait of Abraham Lincoln. He thought painting was “a thrilling experience” and created fantasy landscapes, many of which included nude female figures (Gustave Klumpp, “Abbreviated History of My Life,” 1972).