Wilbur G. Adam – American Artist

Wilbur G. Adam oil on canvas painting, Kentucky Landscape

p4A ItemID D9661967
Wilbur G. Adam oil on canvas painting, "Buick Barge", Cincinnati River Scene

p4A ItemID D9661966
Wilbur G. Adam oil on board paintings, Hollyhock Studies

p4A ItemID D9661962
Wilbur G. Adam oil on canvas painting, Chicago "L" Train Scene

p4A ItemID D9661960

Wilbur G. Adam (1898-1973)

A Cincinnati native and a decorated artist during his career, Wilbur Adam’s work has rarely surfaced on the market and has fallen into obscurity in recent years.

Collectors intimately familiar with the early 20th century school of Cincinnati artists might be surprised at Adam’s work and his association with many of the Queen City’s notables- including Frank Duveneck, Herman and Bessie Wessel, Lewis Henry Meakin, and Caroline Lord, to name a few. His landscapes strongly suggest the influence of his instructors at the Cincinnati Art Academy such as Meakin and the Wessel’s, and the pair of hollyhocks studies (p4A item D9661962 are reminiscent of Caroline Lord’s many examples of the same subject.

Wilbur Adam enrolled at the Cincinnati Art Academy in 1913, and was a pupil during the twilight of the Frank Duveneck era. After a lengthy stay in Chicago as an illustrator (where the “L”train oil was executed, p4A item D9661960), Adam returned to Cincinnati and established a studio on Highland Avenue in Clifton. He remained associated with the Cincinnati Art Academy and was a member of the Art Club, serving as President from 1965-1967.

Cowan’s Auctions first learned of Adam when offering a Maysville, Kentucky landscape in 2008, that listed his studio address. Given the inscriptions on verso of most of the examples that have been offered, it seems that Adam executed most of his work there, where he maintained a garden. He also made several sketching trips to Stearns, Kentucky along with fellow artist Frank Myers, and the two good friends had several shows at Traxel Galleries.

Few other extant examples by Adam are known. The Cincinnati Art Museum was gifted a portrait from the Procter & Gamble Collection, and a Kentucky landscape was offered at Cowan’s in 2008 from a private collection.

Information courtesy of Cowan’s Auctions, May 2011 Spring & Decorative Arts catalog

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