Larger Type
Smaller Type

Search Collections

Kenneth M. Adams Portrait

Kenneth M. Adams Portrait

Kenneth M. Adams

Also Known as: Kenneth Miller Adams, Kenneth Adams

Topeka, Kansas 1897

Albuquerque, New Mexico 1966

Active in:

  • Taos, New Mexico

Photo Caption:
Kenneth M. Adams, Peter A. Juley & Son Collection, Smithsonian American Art Museum J0087047

Photo Caption:
Kenneth M. Adams, Peter A. Juley & Son Collection, Smithsonian American Art Museum J0087048

Luce Artist Quote

“I am conscious of change in the contemporary landscape from that of the twenties and thirties and am only beginning to adjust and accept it.” The artist, quoted in Coke, Kenneth M. Adams: A Retrospective Exhibition,1964


Painter, printmaker. Adams first studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, then at the Art Students League in New York with Kenneth Hayes Miller and George Bridgman. He attended summer classes in Woodstock, New York, taught by Andrew Dasburg, who encouraged him to move to New Mexico in 1924, where Adams lived until his death. His compassionate regard for Hispanics and a renewed interest in landscape largely determined the subjects of his paintings. Adams was the last artist to join the Taos Society of Artists before it disbanded in 1927. His blend of conservative and modernist styles made him a pivotal figure between the founders of the society and the second generation of artists, many of whom were sympathetic to new trends developing in New York and Europe.

Charles Eldredge, Julie Schimmel, and William H. Truettner Art in New Mexico, 1900–1945: Paths to Taos and Santa Fe (Washington, DC: National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 1986)

Additional Biographies

Luce Artist Biography

Kenneth Adams grew up the youngest of five children and spent his time copying pictures from books in the public library. After art school and military duty, he moved to Taos, New Mexico, where he opened a studio and joined the Taos Society of Artists, a group of painters from Chicago and New York in search of an “authentic” America. Adams became an Associate of the National Academy of Design by the time he was twenty eight and worked for the Federal Art Project in the 1930s. Over the course of his career he completed murals in Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico and held teaching positions at several schools. (Coke, Kenneth M. Adams: A Retrospective Exhibition, 1964)