After his studies at the Dresden Academy, Paul Baum transfered to the Weimar Academy in 1878, where his teacher Theodor Hagen taught him about the plein air painting of the Barbizon School. In March 1890, the artist saw paintings by the Impressionists Monet, Pissarro and Sisley during a trip to Paris. After this journey, he settled in the Belgian Knokke, the summer camp of the Impressionists. In 1894 Baum got to know Camille Pissarro and the Belgian pointillist painter Théo van Rysselberghe.
After several trips through Europe and longer stays in Berlin, San Gimignano and Florence, the artist returned to Germany in 1914 and became a professor of the Dresden Academy.