I became aware of the work of Loren D. Adams some eight years ago when a colleague was kind enough to arrange a private viewing of a large oil painting from about 1973 which I believe was entitled Sunset Symphony. The work was a magnificent interpretation of a colourful High Realism fantasy marine-scape and was absolutely breathtaking in size (approximately 48 x 60 inches), complexity of composition, and attention to minute detail.
Loren D. Adams, End of the Storm (1974), oil on linen, 30 x 48 inches
The artist had mastered a realistic depiction of a turbulent sea with waves crashing relentlessly against a rocky shore, and, the manipulation of light with a pale setting sun to render form. The effect was sublime and humbling. It read as a homage to nature and to the spiritual affinity which all life has to the grandeur and eternal presence of nature.
End of the Storm, End of the Storm, painted in 1974, is without question a genuine masterpiece exhibiting all the attributes for which Adams is known, and has become one of the most commercially reproduced marine images on the planet. Shortly after it was painted, it was published as a lithograph by Haddad's Fine Art, and has since been available in several sizes on paper, as a canvas print, and as a Giclée. The painting is listed in the Early Masterworks section of the artist's website:
End of Storm was initially purchased from the Gainsborough Gallery in Calgary where Adams had a one-man show from January 26-February 2,1975. The painting was listed as #17 in the exhibition catalogue entitled An Exhibition and Sale of Recent Paintings by Loren Adams and was reproduced on the catalogue cover. Colour images of the work can also be found on pages 1 and 23 of a catalogue entitled Loren D. Adams, Jr.: a retrospective exhibition, January 21-March 4, 1979, the R.W. Norton Art Gallery produced by the R.W. Norton Art Foundation in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Adams gained international recognition in the early 1970s when it was unfashionable to paint High Realism, especially romantic images of deserted seashores or lone vessels struggling to stay afloat in a torrent of raging sea. Most of his contemporaries were wallowing in the resonating echo of the big-Abstract-Expressionist-bang and were quite comfortably, thank you very much, exploring hard-edge painting, assemblage, site works, performance art and other forms of self indulgence masquerading as art.
Adams' work was initially viewed as Hyper Romantic commercialism akin to those trashy images found on cheap paperback romance fiction, but it has stood the test of at least thirty-five years and has proven itself to be work of significant importance in an age when images are by digital definition, disposable.
In 1984 Adams 16 X 20 inch oil on canvas Golden Surface, sold at auction for $4,500. In 1985 a 16 X 20 inch oil on canvas by the same artist sold at auction for $3,750, the year when Tom Thomson's 8 X 10 inch oil on panel, Log Jam, sold at auction for $50,000. Strong secondary market sales of Adams' work, realized over 20 years ago, reflect a continuing appreciation and respect for the artifice of Realism, which in my estimation, will never completely go out of fashion.
Next: The Case of the Shoreline with Vern Simpson