Adolph Robert Shulz

Artist: Adolph Robert Shulz
Birth: June 12, 1869
Birth City: Delaven Wisconsin
Death: January 24, 1963 (age 93)
Death City: Nashville, Indiana
Burial: Washington Park Cemetery Indianapolis Indiana
1st Marriage: Ada Walter 1894,
Divorced: Ada 1926,
Children 1st Marriage: Walter Shulz (Born June 10, 1894, Died 1918)
2nd Marriage: Alberta Rehm 1926
Children: 2nd Marriage: Emillie

Artist Summary

Subject Matter:  Landscapes
Art Associations:  Charter member Brown County Art Association (1926 – 1968), Chicago Galleries Association, Indiana Artist Club, Chicago Society of Artists, Art Education: Art Institute of Chicago, Art Students League of New York, Academie Julian in Pari and Academie Colorossi in Paris

Biography of Adolph Robert Shulz

The Early Years of Adolf Shulz (1869 to 1893)

When Adolph was a young boy he was interested in the study of trees, there form and color, so spent a lot time in the woods of Delavan Wisconsin sketching the landscape. According to White, “Many interesting thoughts are recorded in his sketch book all of which prove what deep thoughts of inspiration he has embedded from an environment of picturesque tree growth, of rippling waters, of multiple skies – in short of every phase of nature (332)”.   As a young boy Adolph received art lessons from Albert McCoy a local art teacher that helped prepare him for a more formal education at the Art Institute of Chicago. Adolph Shluz also attended the New York Art Students League. studying under William Merritt Chase and then under Henry Siddons Mowbray. During the summers Adolph traveled back to Delavan to paint and sketch. During the summer of 1892 teacher John Vanderpoel of Chicago brought his students to Delavan Wisconsin to paint. At times Adolph would join the painting classes with Vanderpoel. This is how Adolph met Ada Walter.

Adolph Shulz Marriage and Building a Career (1894 to 1917)

In 1894 Adolph Shulz married Ada Walter at which time they traveled to Paris where he studied under Lefevre, Constant, and Jean Paul Laurens at the Julian Academy. In the spring of 1895 they both moved to Munich Germany. Marian White wrote in an article when Adolph was 42 years old. “Mr. Shulz’’s work has always been characterized by marked simplicity, as well as by sentiment, but there has now crept into his paintings a certain directness of statement, the result of experience and a rigid adherence to conscientious methods.” (332).

By the early 1900’s Adolf was making painting trips to Brown County Indiana capturing the peaceful landscape and unlimited subject matter the county provided. Adolph is considered the founder of Brown County Art Colony due to the many artists he invited to the area to paint.. Shulz first learned of Brown County after reading an article in the August 1900 Chicago paper. Shulz reminisced in his article “The Story of the Brown County Art Colony”, “I undertook a horse and buggy trip through Brown County, starting in Columbus and spending several days on a tour of investigation. Never before had I been so thrilled by a region; it seemed like a fairyland with its narrow winding roads leading the traveler down into creek beds, through the water pools and over the hills. Everywhere there were rail fences almost hidden by Queen Anne’s lace, goldenrod and other weeds and bushes. Picturesque cabins here and there seemed to belong to the landscape as did the people who lived in them”.

Shulz goes on to say,” A sense of peace and loveliness never before experienced came over me and I felt that at last that I had found the ideal sketching ground.” Brown county was very remote and not easily accessible so Adolph could not bring his family as there were no hotels.

In June of 1907 Shulz went on a hiking trip to find a place where he could bring his family on painting and sketching trips. Starting from Martinsville, In. he explored southern Indiana making his way through Brown County where he stopped in Nashville staying at the Pittman Inn.  In 1908 Adolph and his family came to Brown County to sketch and paint the countryside and its people. Over the years Brown County had become more well know and a picturesque place for artists. That season about 25 artist gathered in the county to paint, increasing to fifty or sixty artists in subsequent years.

Adolph Shulz and his Life in Nashville and Brown County Indiana from 1917 to 1963

By 1917 Adolf Shulz moved his family to Brown County where both Adolph and Ada Shulz became charter members of the Brown County Art association Walter Shulz enlisted in the United States Army to fight in the war.  Tragically their only child survived being wounded along with some intense fighting on the battlefields of Europe only to die of diphtheria in France a month after armistice was signed.

Devastated Ada and Adolph focused on their art and the activities around Nashville, Indiana. Adolph became friends with the local farmers and residents of Brown County. He traveled the countryside painting the beautiful scenery of Brown County Indiana. While living in Brown County Adolph Accepted students where he met Alberta Rehm. Unfortunately, Adolph’s marriage continued to deteriorate and led to the couple divorce in 1926. He married Alberta in 1926

In 1934 Adolph accepted a teaching position at the Ringling School of Art in Sarasota Florida. Once the Shulz’s returned to Nashville, they continued to paint and stayed active in the art community. In 1939 they donated land for the future Brown County Art gallery. Adolph worked on and of for 30 years on his portrait of Christ titled “The Master Presence”. He was never satisfied with his portrait and is part of the reason he worked on it for so many years. In later years the Shulz’s became active in supporting young women from poor rural families. They would invite them to their home as housekeepers and help take them. At the age of 93 Adolph died on January 24th, 1963.

Exhibitions and Awards

Grover and Young Fortnightly Prize, CAI (1900) title “Frost and Fog”
Wisconsin Painter and Sculptors Annual Exhibition awarded the Art Institute Medal in Painting for “Graceful Sycamore” 1
Society of Western Artists – Adolph Robert Shulz 1896 to 1913
The First Annual Exhibition of “The Society of Western Artists” 1896 to 1897 submitted two paintings titled - "Beside the fountain", "Going to market",
The Second Annual Exhibition of “The Society of Western Artists” 1897 - 1898 submitted painting titled – “Sunset Glow,
The Seventh Annual Exhibition of “The Society of Western Artists” 1902 - 1903 submitted painting titled – “Winter”,
The Eighth Annual Exhibition of “The Society of Western Artists” 1903 - 1904 submitted paintings titled – “Aspens”, “Foggy morning”, “The Valley”
The Ninth Annual Exhibition of “The Society of Western Artists” 1904 - 1905 submitted paintings titled – “Frosty Morning”, “The maple”, “The willow”, “The thistle”
The Eleventh Annual Exhibition of “The Society of Western Artists” 1906 - 1907 submitted paintings titled – “Green pastures”, “Thistles”, “The Oak Tree”
The Seventeenth Annual Exhibition of “The Society of Western Artists” 1912 - 1913 submitted paintings titled – “Across the Valley”


White, Marian. “A Landscape Painter of the Middle West – The work of Adolph Shulz”, Arts and decoration, May 1912, pp. 332 – 333
Shulz, Adolph. “The Story of the Brown County Art Colony.”, Indiana Magazine of History [Online], December 1935, pp 282 – 289. Web 26 Feb. 2017
Art Institute of Chicago (1896), The First Exhibition of the Annual Society of Western Artist’s Page 25
Art Institute of Chicago (1898), The Second Exhibition of the Annual Society of Western Artists, Page 22
Art Institute of Chicago (1903), The Seventh Annual Exhibition of the Society of Western Artists, Page 19
Art Institute of Chicago (1903 -1904), The Eighth Annual Exhibition of the Society of Western Artists, Page 19
Art Institute of Chicago (1904), The Ninth Annual Exhibition of the Society of Western Artists, Page 16
Art Institute of Chicago (1906), The Eleventh Annual Exhibition of the Society of Western Artists, Page 16
Art Institute of Chicago (1912), The Seventeenth Annual Exhibition of the Society of Western Artists, No Page Reference
M. Joanne Nesbit and Barbara Judd - Those Brown County Artists - "The Ones Who Came, the Ones Who Stayed, The Ones Who Moved On 1900 - 1950" - Nanna's Books 1993
Lyn Letsinger-Miller - The Artists of Brown County - Indiana University Press Bloomington and Indianapolis 1994



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