Adam Emory Albright [1862-1957]

Born in Monroe, Wisconsin, Adam Albright was one of the first students at the newly established Art Institute of Chicago. He studied there from 1881 to 1883. Albright also attended Kansas University and some of his early work was likely done in Kansas. He went on to become a noted landscape, still life, and figure painter.

His style was impressionism mixed with realism. Strongly opposing the modernism of the early 20th century, Adam E. Albright said, “They give you boiled squash with a mule’s foot on it and call that art.” (Richter 24)

At the Chicago Art Institute, he was a student of Henry Fenton Spread and John Vanderpoel. He also studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts from 1883 to 1886 with Thomas Eakins, in Paris with Benjamin Constant, and in Munich. He established his studio in Chicago in 1888 and became President of the Chicago Watercolor Club. He was also a member of the Chicago Academy of Design.

Adam Emory Albright chose juvenile subjects for many paintings early in his career. After being exposed to Impressionism during the Columbian Exposition, his work became more colorful and sun-filled. From 1908, he spent many summers at the art colony of Brown County, Indiana, and from 1917 frequently spent winters in Arizona where he painted desert landscapes and figures. He was a teacher at the Albright Atelier in Lamar, Missouri and also lived in Winnetka and Warrenville, Illinois.

About Adam Albright, William Gerdts wrote, “No other Chicago artist’s work was so widely exhibited at the Art Institute; . . . A constant flow of articles appeared about the artist and his work, all praising his innate sympathy with childhood and with the rural environment and referring to him as the ‘James Whitcomb Riley of the Brush.’ ” (Art Across America, Vol 2)