Rocky Mountain Majesty

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Landscape painters have always been drawn to Colorado’s scenic beauty—think of Albert Bierstadt or Thomas Moran. But Charles Partridge Adams came here for a very different reason. In 1876, when Adams was just 18, his family left Massachusetts, hoping Colorado’s arid climate would save his sister from tuberculosis. Sadly, the sister died, but Adams remained here, got a job in a Denver bookstore, and taught himself to paint. Eventually, he became one Colorado’s most celebrated artists, but he’s not as well known today. The Denver Art Museum hopes to change that with Rocky Mountain Majesty: The Paintings of Charles Partridge Adams. Surprisingly, it’s the first major-museum show of Adams’ work. Ryan Warner visits the exhibition with curator Thomas Smith.

[Charles Partridge Adams, Sunrise on the Mountains at the Head of Moraine Park, Near Estes Park, about 1920. Oil paint on canvas. Gift of Philip, Albert and Charles P. Adams Jr., sons of the late Charles Partridge Adams, CU Art Museum, University of Colorado Boulder.]

[Charles Partridge Adams, In the Colorado Mountains, 1898. Watercolor. Collection of Chuck and Charla Rudolph.]

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