J. Ottis Adams was best known as a nature-loving artist. A landscape painter who was a key member of the Hoosier Group of Indiana painters, Adams, along with William Forsyth and Theodore Steele, was committed to depicting his own native region. Typically their early work was peasant genre in dark tonalism. However, in the 1890s it became much lighter in the manner of the impressionists, and for many years these artists were the premier impressionist painters of the Midwest. Much of their subject matter was along the Muscatatuck and Whitewater Rivers and around the Indiana communities of Brookville and Vernon.
John Adams was born in Amitz, Indiana and in the mid-1880s went to Munich, Germany where he followed the regular routine of the Royal Academy. His companion there was Theodore Steele. Adams also studied with J. Frank Currier at Schleisheim, Germany and with John Parker in London. After studying in England and Germany, J. Ottis Adams returned to Indiana and opened an art school in Muncie in 1887.
Many of these artists were either native to Indiana or lived, worked, and studied around the Midwest in the early 20th century, specifically in Indiana locales such as Indianapolis, Brown County, Muncie, Nashville, Portland, Richmond, South Bend, and southern Indiana.
Several artists studied or were integral figures at Indiana institutes such as the Fort Wayne Art School, Muncie Art School, Indiana School of Art, and the Richmond School. Others were associated with entities such as the Brown County Art Colony, Hoosier Group, Hoosier Salon, and the Richmond Art Museum. The artwork we are seeking includes impressionist, landscape, oil, still life, and watercolor paintings from these Indiana artists.
Brown County Art Colony
The Brown County Art Colony was formed in the early 1900s by artists who were attracted by the undisturbed picturesque landscape known as Peaceful Valley. T.C. Steele was the first to become a resident of the county when he purchased 200 acres near Belmont. Adolph Shulz is considered to be the founder of the Brown County Art Colony. He began visiting Brown County in 1908 and in 1917 became a permanent resident. Both Adolph Shulz and T.C. Steele influenced other artists and many began building cabins and moving to the area.
Will Vawter and Gustave Baumann were among the first to make Brown County their home. Other artists such as Charles Dahlgreen, Lucie Hartrath, and L.O. Griffith came from Chicago and by the early 1930s there were at least eighteen artists with permanent homes in Brown County.
Artists such as C. Curry Bohm, Edward K. Williams, Ada Walter Shulz, Carl Graf, V.J. Cariani, Gustav Baumann, Will Vawter, Dale Bessire, Georges LaChance, Marie Goth, Leota Loop, Adam Emory Albright, Olive Rush, and Alexis Fournier flourished and created the Brown County Art Colony nearly 100 years ago.
- Letsinger-Miller, Lyn. The Artists of Brown County. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1994.
- Nesbit, M. Joanne, ed., Barbara Judd, comp. Those Brown County Artists: The Ones Who Came the Ones Who Stayed the Ones Who Moved On. Nashville: Nana’s Book, 1993.
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