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Charles Partridge Adams (1858-1942)

Born in Franklin, Massachusetts, Charles Partridge Adams moved with his mother and two sisters to Denver, Colorado in 1876 in an effort to cure the two girls who suffered from tuberculosis. In Denver, Adams found work at the Chain and Hardy Bookstore. He received his first and only art training from the owner’s wife, Helen Chain. Mrs. Chain, a former pupil of George Inness, provided instruction and encouragement to the young artist and introduced him to other artists in the area including Alexander Phimister Proctor.


Proctor and Adams developed a friendship and the pair embarked on a three-month camping trip in Egeria Park, Colorado. In addition to exploring, both artists did quite a bit of sketching on the trip. After their return to Denver, Adams and Proctor shared a studio for a short period of time before Proctor moved to New York. Adams remained in Denver and after a short stint as an art teacher, he decided to study wood engraving with Major J.M. Bagley. He quickly abandoned the engraving for health reasons and began working in crayon.

His business card read “Landscapes and Crayon Portraits” though he much preferred landscapes. The artist soon made a name for himself in Denver. He established a wealthy clientele who purchased a number of his paintings with which to decorate their homes and give as Christmas gifts.

In 1890, Adams married Alida Joslin Reynolds and the couple honeymooned in Estes Park, Colorado. That same year, he exhibited for the first time at the National Academy of Design. Three years later, the artist opened his first studio on Larimer Street in Denver. He began working in watercolor and had success in the new medium selling his paintings in stores in Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Kansas City and Chicago. In 1893, Adams became a charter member of the Denver Artists Club.

In 1905, the couple's dream of living in Estes Park was realized when Adams completed construction on a home and studio. Adams referred to the studio as “The Sketch Box” and the family summered there every year.

Though Adams is best known for his Colorado landscapes, he also painted in Yellowstone, the Tetons, the Canadian Rockies, the New Mexican Desert and California. In 1914, the couple sailed to Europe where they spent five months touring. Three years later, Charles suffered from a near-fatal illness.

In 1920, Adams moved to California where he opened a studio first in Pasadena and later in Laguna Beach. He became a member of the Laguna Beach Artists Association and began painting marine subjects.

During his lifetime, he completed several thousand paintings, but never documented his paintings leaving behind no accurate record. Examples of his work can be found in Colorado at the University of Colorado at Boulder, the Denver Museum and the Denver Art Association, at the San Diego Women's Club as well as in numerous private collections. 


National Mining and Industrial Exhibition, 1884;

Denver Chain and Hardy Bookstore, Gold Medal 1886;

National Academy of Design, 1890 

Solo Exhibit 1896-1897

Chicago Art Institute - 1892, 1897, 1899, 1901

Artists Club, 1894

Trans-Mississippi Exposition Omaha, Nebraska, 1898

Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, NY 1901 

Honorable Mention at Interstate and West Indian Fair, Charleston, SC, 1901-1902;

Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St. Louis, 1904


Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado

Kansas City Art Association, Kansas City, Missouri

San Diego Art Museum, San Diego, California 

University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 

University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, Colorado 

Women’s Club, Denver, Colorado



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