Willis 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.

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.