Helmuth Naumer grew up in a small town of Ruetlingen, Germany in the Black Forest and loved the cowboy and Indian lore of the American West, inspired by writings of the author Karl May. In 1925 at the age of seventeen, he emigrated to New York City and from there went West, stopping briefly in Santa Fe, New Mexico on his way to California. He enrolled in the Frank Wiggins Art School, but in need of steady income, joined the Merchant Marines.
After six years at sea, he returned to Santa Fe where in 1932, he settled permanently. He became friends with members of the local art community and began painting landscapes with them. Known for his New Mexico landscape paintings, Namer worked in pastel, watercolor and oil but favored pastel because there was no mixing of paints or color fading over time. For him, pastel was the most effective for catching the fleeting changes in the atmosphere in the Southwest landscape. His paintings are generally composites of landscapes and not realistic depictions of a particular place.