David Hagerbaumer was born in
Quincy, Illinois, on January 31, 1921. His father, George,
owned a 40-acre farm from which he managed to eke out a living
for his family. Although his father wasn't much of a sport
hunter, he did hunt to put food on the table. When Dave was
eight years old, George took him duck hunting on Turtle Lake,
and Dave shot his first duck, a mallard drake. Instantly,
a bond formed between young Dave and waterfowl that has not
diminished over the years.
One Sunday morning in December
of 1941 the news of the bombing of Pearl Harbor crackled over
the radio. Dave saw his duty clearly and he enlisted in the
U.S. Marines just after Christmas Day. He spent four years
on active duty, over half of it on Midway Island where one
of the most concentrated and decisive battles was fought.
After the war Dave enrolled in
San Diego State College while simultaneously working as staff
artist and assistant ornithologist at the Carson City Museum.
At the same time he and his cousin started a small duck decoy
business. Dave carved the heads by hand and his cousin turned
the bodies out on a lathe. It was more a labor of love than
money and ultimately they just went out of business. But they
did make good decoys.
The year 1951 was famous for
the Korean "Police Action," and Sgt. Hagerbaumer
was recalled to active duty. Lady Luck smiled on him this
time, and he did his tour as an artist in G-2 creating propaganda
posters and making maps.
A civilian again, Dave traveled
the outdoor art mart circuit in the San Diego and La Jolla
area. He'd paint during the week and sell at the marts on
weekends. He made a fair living at it, but his reputation
was very local.
Enter Ralph Terrell of Crossroads
of Sports. Ralph recognized talent when he saw it, and he
was a good promoter. Through the Crossroads catalogs and their
Manhattan gallery, Dave's paintings were presented to most
of the sporting art collectors of the day. His career skyrocketed
and demand for his paintings became nationwide.
The rest is history. Dave's paintings
remain high on the list for inclusion in major collections.
Two books have been published on his art,
GAME BIRDS, and THE BOTTOMS.