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Biography

Contemporary American artist Peter Adams was born in Los Angeles on August 27, 1950. He received his training at Art Center College of Design, Otis Art Institute, Instituto de Bellas Artes, San Miguel de Allende, and at the Lukits Academy of Fine Arts in Los Angeles. At the Lukits Academy, Adams spent seven years, from 1970 to 1977, in diligent formal training, including four years as the personal apprentice to the renowned classical painter of murals, landscapes, and portraits, Theodore N. Lukits (1897-1992).

From his years with Lukits, studying still life compositions consisting of sculptures and porcelains from various Chinese dynasties that were part of the Lukits personal collection, Adams gained a heightened appreciation for Asian objets d'art and antiques. This interest later led to Adams traveling throughout Asia, and in 1981 he became the first American artist to travel and paint unescorted through the People’s Republic of China. His fascination for Asia gained him great acclaim when, in 1987, he was the only American artist to travel and paint with the Mujahideen rebels in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan. Today, Adams combines Eastern design concepts with the Western sense of depth through atmosphere.

Since 1993 Adams has served as president of the historic California Art Club, which was established in 1909 and is one of the largest and most active professional arts organizations in the country. Under his leadership, the Club’s roster has grown from 80 members to nearly 3,000 at present. Today, the California Art Club is recognized as a leading proponent of the current national realist art movement.

Selected Collections

Arco Towers, Los Angeles; The Beach Club, Malibu; California Club, Los Angeles; Carnegie Art Museum, Oxnard; Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Los Angeles; Forbes Magazine Collection, New York; Haggin Museum, Stockton, CA; Joan Irvine Smith, Irvine, CA; Jonathan Club, Los Angeles; Our Savior Church and Caruso Catholic Center at USC, Los Angeles; Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, CA; Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Loretto, PA; Stephen’s College, Columbia, MO; and Trust Company of the West, Los Angeles.

Professional Memberships

Signature Member, California Art Club; Signature Member, Pastel Society of America; Emeritus Member, Plein Air Painters of America; Master Signature Member, Oil Painters of America; Associate Guild Member, Honorary Emeritus, American Society of Classical Realism

Commitment to the Arts Community

Peter Adams has served on the Boards of California Art Club; Pacific Asia Museum; Pasadena Museum of California Art; Academy of Art University; and the American Society of Portrait Artists

Selected Publications

Newspapers & Magazines: Los Angeles Times, Pasadena Star-News, American Artist, American Art Collector, American Art Review, Art of the West, Fine Art Connoisseur, Plein Air Magazine, Western Art Collector, and Southwest Art

Books: California Light: A Century of Landscapes by the California Art Club by Jean Stern & Molly Siple, Published by Rizzoli International, 2011; Landscape Painting: Essential Concepts and Techniques for Plein Air and Studio Practice by Mitchell Albala, Published by Watson-Guptill, 2009; Enchanted Isle: A History of Plein Air Painting in Santa Catalina Island by Jean Stern, Molly Siple & Roy C. Rose, Published by The Society for the Advancement of Plein Air Painting, 2003; From Sea to Shining Sea: A Reflection of America with essays by Jean Stern, John Cosby & Gil Dellinger, Published by Haggin Museum, 2004; Leading the West by Donald J. Haggerty, Published by Northland, 1997

Peter Adams is listed in Wikipedia under “Peter Seitz Adams”

Selected Achievements

2016
PleinAir Magazine Award presented at Autry Museum's “Masters of the American West Exhibition” (winner, Peace in the Midst of Peril, Oil, 36" x 48")

2014
PleinAir Magazine's Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Peter and Elaine Adams

2010
University of Southern California Commission to paint the Fourteen Stations of the Cross for Our Savior Parrish and Caruso Catholic Center (completed, November 2012)

2009
Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award, presented at California Art Club’s “98th Annual Gold Medal Juried Exhibition”

2007
Gold Medal Award, California Art Club's 96th Annual Gold Medal Juried Exhibition, held at Pasadena Museum of California Art (winner, Prajnaparamita, Perfection of Wisdom, Oil, 24" x 24")

2007
Autry Museum's John J. Geraghty Award for the Advancement of Traditional Fine Art in the American West

2007
Pasadena Tournament of Roses Commission to create the “Pasadena Rose” (purchased by Citicorp Bank)

1997
Pasadena Gold Crown Award for Visual Art presented by the Pasadena Arts Council

Commissions

Artwork displayed on this page represents unique commission projects. If you are interested in commissioning an enduring and personalized work of art for public or private display, please contact us here for consultation.

Art Reviews

“Among contemporary Impressionists, Californian Peter Adams ranks among the most accomplished. Whether working indoors or out, Adams emphasizes color effects and atmosphere rather than form and mass.”

Catesby Leigh, Art Critic/Writer
The New Traditional Styles
Art & Antiques


Summer 2002

“Peter Adams is one of California’s premier realist artists. He is also a romantic, who proudly continues a nineteenth-century ideal of painting as an expansion of our vision and emotions. Like Delacroix and Degas, masters of pastel, Adams uses the medium with astounding sensitivity. He prefers to work on location, so he is fully immersed in the scene. Typically he begins a pastel using broad sweeps of chalk. This initial lay-in of color is expansive, vibrant, and often resembles an abstract composition. As he continues to work, he defines features, capturing subtle nuances of form and tone. Peter likes to use his fingers in tandem with his chalks. Reserving one finger for each color group—red, green, yellow, blue—he gently rubs and works his pastels to create a dynamic range of effects. By building color and modulating edges, he is able to create the illusion of open air and solid mass, near and far, brilliant light and rich darks. Like the best romantic art, these pastels capture a scene but also transport you to a place that is wondrous and unforgettable.”

Michael Zakian, Ph.D., Director, Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art,
Pepperdine University, Malibu, California
Exhibition Brochure: Pastels of Malibu, Skidmore Contemporary Art
November 8 – 30, 2003


“In recent years, I have come to believe that the art appreciated by average citizens – not necessarily the avant-garde cognoscenti, but the art-loving public – is not to be discounted or dismissed in favor of whatever is hyped at the moment. Peter Adams… and many, many others, in this show and beyond are tremendously admired by art lovers today. They will be remembered and admired when many of those whose works grace the walls of contemporary museums and galleries have been relegated to footnotes or less in the art historical texts of the future.”

William H. Gerdts, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Art History
Graduate School of the City University of New York
Exhibition Catalogue: The American Society
of Classical Realism Guild of Artists
The Newington-Cropsey Foundation Gallery of Art
February 5 – April 30, 2001


“Much of Peter’s art evinces inspiration of Oriental design: the distinct shapes of his trees reflect his training in bonsai, and his use of large aesthetic shapes to depict fog or cloud reflect similar uses of negative form in Oriental Painting.”

Patricia Trenton, Ph.D., Art Historian
Exhibition Catalogue: Peter Adams and Daniel Pinkham:
The Aura of Nature: Painting Beyond the View
Joan Irvine Smith Fine Arts, Inc.
October 17 – November 15, 1998


“Painting en plein air, California Art Club leaders Dan Pinkham and Peter Adams explore the remaining pristine realms of the western environment, using impressionist techniques to capture these ephemeral spaces.”

Amy Scott, Curator of Visual Arts
Autry Museum of Western Heritage, Los Angeles
Land as Landscape: American Aesthetics and the Western Environment California Art Club Newsletter
February 2003


“Adams’ use of color is excellent, his compositions thoughtful and his brush strokes painterly in nature. He has his own unique approach to painting California mountains and the California coast… The end-results are pure Adams.”

Priscilla Fleming Vayda, Art Correspondent
A Visit to the San Gabriels
Pasadena Star-News
November 29, 2002

Studio Visit

“I am particularly interested in unique lighting effects and how these effects reflect, refract, diffuse and obscure detail.  It is the ethereal quality of light that intrigues me.  In painting natural or inanimate objects, I am constantly trying to discover and interpret interesting design, shapes, and color harmonies to stimulate the eye.  Elevating the human spirit and arousing a sense of discovery is what excites me as an artist.”

—Peter Adams

Peter Adams demonstrates painting waves in pastel en plein air in Dana Point, California for American Artist magazine.

peter

Peter Adams in his studio with works in progress.
Photo Credit: Brandon Kalpin

“Although I generally complete 90% of my plein air landscape paintings on location, it’s the last 10% that I do at my studio easel that I feel is my personal interpretation as an artist. The quiet time that I spend in my studio allows me the opportunity to contemplate the poetic essence of a subject. My object is not to focus on every detail of a scene, but to capture its spirit.”

peterelaine

Peter and Elaine on a plein air painting excursion to Mt. Wilson with their dogs, from left to right, Panda, Jaipur and Smoochie.
Photo Credit: Lisa Cavelier

“The San Gabriel Mountains are just ten minutes from where we live in Pasadena. I feel so fortunate to be able to quickly get out of the city and into wilderness. All throughout these mountains, which peak at 10,000 feet, are countless points of interest, magnificent vistas, and an abundance of natural beauty. Hiking in the San Gabriels, I’ve come across all sorts of evidence of man’s productivity, including abandoned gold mines, neglected bridges, and remnants of what was once a grand funicular that led up to a fashionable lodge, hotel and, even a zoo. In this photo, we are on top of Mt. Wilson where one can find giant radio antennas and the Carnegie Observatories, including solar towers and a 100-inch telescope. Here, my wife Elaine and I are hiking our way up to Echo Rock from where I plan to do some painting of vast canyon vistas. Of course, our dogs are with us for encouragement.”

teaondeck

Elaine and Peter having tea on the studio deck.
© 2004 magnus stark/photography

“With our busy schedules, Elaine and I rarely have a chance to sit quietly alone just to chat. So, we set aside two hours each Wednesday when we can meet in solitude to review our calendar, discuss plans, and share ideas.”