Printmakers You Should Know: Kenneth Adams

Today's Printmaker You Should Know was the last and youngest member of the Taos Society of Artists: Kenneth Adams (1897-1966).

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Portrait of Kenneth Adams. Image courtesy of
Adams was born in Kansas, and initially studied art in Topeka. He would then go on to study at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Arts Student League in New York, eventually making his way over to Italy and France for further instruction. In the summers he continued his studies at Woodstock, New York, working under Andrew Dasburg, one of the Americans who showed work at the 1913 Armory show and a modernist fixture of Taos.

Adams moved to Taos in 1924, following Dasburg and another artist, Walter Ufer. He would be the last member to join the Taos Society of Artists before it dissolved in 1927. Eventually he worked out a rhythm where he would spend the winters in Albuquerque and summers in Taos, and became a tenured professor at the University of New Mexico.

As an artist, Adams worked in a figurative vein, creating both paintings and prints.

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Kenneth Adams, Taos Indian Evening, 1965, oil on canvas.
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Kenneth Adams, Figures on a Path Approaching a House, 1922, oil on canvas. Image courtesy of
Like many Taos artists, Adams was attracted to Native American subjects. He was also interested in Hispanic subjects, which were never as popular with artists at that time.  In these figurative works, he's less interested in the precise ethnographic details of his sitters than he is in capturing their humanity.

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Kenneth Adams, Harvest, 1950, lithograph. Image courtesy of
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Kenneth Adams, The Miner, lithograph. Image courtesy of

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Kenneth Adams, The Spring, 1946, lithograph. Image courtesy of

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Kenneth Adams, Benerisa, 1930, lithograph. Image courtesy of

Throughout his career, Adams was a synthesizer of both representational and abstract styles, giving his work a "safely" abstracted appearance that made his work well-received at the time. He was something of a transitional figure between the first, conservative generation of Taos painters and the more abstract inclinations of the Taos Moderns of the 1940s and 1950s.

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