Charles Partridge Adams, Gathering Storm Near the San Juan Mountains, date not known. Oil paint on canvas. Private Collection, Colorado, represented by Saks Galleries.

Rocky Mountain Majesty

The Paintings of Charles Partridge Adams

December 16, 2012September 8, 2013
Hamilton Building - Level 2 — Included in general admission.

Charles Partridge Adams was a Colorado landscape painter active during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Rocky Mountain Majesty: The Paintings of Charles Partridge Adams marks the first time that Adams’ paintings will be displayed together at a major art museum; and the Denver Art Museum will be the sole venue for this important exhibition that highlights his greatest paintings of Colorado.

Adams became one of the finest Colorado artists and is best known for his paintings of Longs Peak near Estes Park and other mountain ranges in Colorado. He was a highly prolific painter who created more than a 1,000 paintings during his lifetime. The DAM will exhibit 33 of the very best of his oil and watercolor paintings depicting Colorado and will show the diversity of Adams’ oeuvre, which includes such styles as realism, tonalism and impressionism. Rocky Mountain Majesty also will feature two of the museum’s own paintings, Moraine Park and Sunset in Colorado, alongside loans from lenders across Colorado.

Born in Massachusetts, Adams moved to Colorado as a teenager for the arid climate, hoping to save his younger sister from tuberculosis. He remained in Colorado and began his painting career by befriending local artists who helped him to develop his working method and style. Adams, a mostly self-taught artist, learned his craft by interacting with others in the field, practicing techniques and experimenting with different styles.

His early attempts yielded mostly realistic depictions that had almost no suggestions of impressionism. However, by the late 1890s–early 1910s, he established his signature style that was based on impressionism with an added colorful touch. He then moved on to even more dramatic brushwork, a livelier palette and more impasto. He began neglecting subject details, a characterizing trait of impressionism. His paintings express a deeply individual and poetic reaction to the Colorado landscapes, with stunning understanding of the varying effects of light and air.

Rocky Mountain Majesty: The Paintings of Charles Partridge Adams will be on view through September 8, 2013.

More online

  • Listen to a Colorado Matters interview (8 minutes) about Adams moving to Colorado in the 1870s, when he was 18, and teaching himself to paint. Thomas Brent Smith, director and curator at the DAM's Petrie Institute of Western American Art, talks with Colorado Public Radio's Ryan Warner.
  • Explore our Colorado Landscapes board on Pinterest.