The Denver Art Museum (DAM) will present Rocky Mountain Majesty: The Paintings of Charles Partridge Adams, a survey of Charles Partridge Adams (1858-1942), a Colorado landscape painter active during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The exhibition marks the first time that Adams’ masterworks will be displayed together at a major art museum; and the DAM will be the sole venue for this important exhibition that highlights his greatest paintings of Colorado. Rocky Mountain Majesty will be on view December 16, 2012, through September 2, 2013, in the Gates Family Gallery on level two of the Hamilton Building.
“No one dedicated themselves to painting Colorado more than Adams,” said Thomas Smith, exhibition co-curator and director of the Petrie Institute of Western American Art at the DAM.
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 37 of the most outstanding 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 will also 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 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.
The exhibition is co-curated by Thomas Brent Smith and Nicole Parks, curatorial assistant for the Petrie Institute of Western American Art.