Mark Adams

USA / 1925 - 2006 / wikipedia / / /
Born in Fort Plains, NY, Mark Adams attended Syracuse University, but left before graduation to study abstract art in New York with prominent Abstract Expressionist Hans Hoffman. Although he studied painting, Adams began his early career as a tapestry and stained-glass designer where he designed the windows for Temple Emanu-El, San Francisco's largest synagogue, in Presidio Heights. He also did the stained glass for Grace Episcopal Cathedral on Nob Hill. His tapestry works can be found at the de Young Museum and at San Francisco International Airport. Later in life he turned ... to using watercolors as his primary medium. Adams' watercolor style often involved taking everyday objects--a tie, a bowl of jello--and portraying them with new meaning through a series of vivid, delicate, and translucent color washes. (

...Adams grew frustrated with the limitations of his craft and the lack of complete control he had over the actual fabrication of his work.... Adams soon realized he could incorporate his techniques of flat planes of color as he had in tapestry and stained glass by using a wash to create his desired spatial effects, along with continuing his ideas of transparency and luminosity. He favored the quotidian subjects that exemplified his life, depicting them in such a way as to evoke a sense of nostalgia. Adams eventually learned to deemphasize his precise technique as a means to communicate his excitement for the subject he was portraying.

"He was a lovely man, a real gentleman with a great soul," said San Francisco art dealer John Berggruen.... "He did these beautifully poetic watercolors that had a real presence about them. His floral images, and his depiction of common everyday objects, were very compelling. More in obituary at
change photo
remove photo

First Collected by

Cindy Shih


Contributors 2

Related Artists

+ add artist