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Willis A. Adams

Willis Adams was born in Goshen, Indiana in 1854. He was a pioneer generation photographer, painter, and printmaker.  He died in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1932. Adams became a photographic assistant who performed manual touch-ups at a photographic business in Goshen. He became interested in painting and enrolled at the Chicago Art Institute. In 1870, Adams decided to go west to Utah. 


Adams befriended local artists H. L. A. Culmer, J. T. Harwood, Lee Richards, A. B. Wright, Edwin Evans, and LeConte Stewart.  Adams and John Hafen frequently painted together.  Hafen's Barbizon-inspired approach to landscapes had the most influence on Adams's painting.  Evening (1903) shows his approach to landscape painting.  

Adams worked in oils, watercolors, pastels, charcoal, crayon, and pencil drawings. Although the quality and worth of his works were not generally accepted until after his death, the painter did exhibit three paintings in the World's Fair of 1904. He was also recognized for his portraits of Senator and Mrs. Thomas F. Kearns.

Biographical information on this page was adapted from the Springville Museum of Art.

Books

Davenport, Ray. Davenport's Art Reference. Ventura, CA: 2001. 
Dawdy, Doris. Artists of the American West: A Biographical Dictionary. Chicago, IL: Sage Books, 1990. 
Dunbier, Lonnie Pierson, ed. The Artists Bluebook: 29,000 North American Artists. Scottsdale, AZ: AskART.com, 2003. 
Falk, Peter Hastings. Who Was Who in American Art: compiled from the original thirty-four volumes of American Art Annual--Who's Who in Art. Biographies of American artists active from 1898-1947. Madison, CT: Sound View Press, 1985. 
Falk, Peter Hastings. Who Was Who in American Art, 1564-1975: 400 Years of Artists in America. Madison, CT: Sound View Press, 1999. 
Haseltine, James L. 100 Years of Utah Painting: Selected Works from the 1840s to the 1940s. Salt Lake City, UT: Salt Lake Arts Center, 1965. 
Olpin, Robert S., William C. Seifrit, and Vern G. Swanson. Artists of Utah. Salt Lake City, UT: Gibbs Smith Publisher, 1999. 
Samuels, Peggy and Harold Samuels. The Illustrated Biographical Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1976. 
Swanson, Vern G., Robert S. Olpin, and William C. Seifrit. Utah Art. Layton, UT: Peregrine Smith Books, 1991. 
Swanson, Vern G., Robert S. Olpin, Donna Poulton and Janie Rogers. Utah Art, Utah Artists. Layton, UT: Gibbs Smith Publisher, 2001. 
Swanson, Vern G., Robert Olpin, and William C. Seifrit. Utah Painting and Sculpture. Layton, UT: Gibbs Smith Publisher, 1991.

 Last Modified 8/28/13