A multi-million-dollar gift of beautiful American paintings and Native American artifacts is the largest in this institution’s 26-year history.
When he wasn’t making sure his NFL team was operating properly and winning games, late Tennessee Titans owner Kenneth S. “Bud” Adams was amassing a collection of exquisite American painting and Native American art that was considered to be museum-worthy — and now, in fact, it is. Formerly housed in Adams’s Houston home and office, the collection has a new permanent location at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Thomas Moran, “Grand Canyon,” 1917, oil on canvas, (c) Adams Collection 2015

Announced just last week, the Kenneth S. “Bud” and Nancy Adams Collection includes a number of significant paintings by Frederic Remington, Charles M. Russell, N.C. Wyeth, Thomas Moran, and many more of the most accomplished — and coveted — painters of the American West. While the paintings stand alone as an extraordinary gift, the collection is also includes Plains Indian beadwork and clothing, and hundreds of Native American objects.

Eanger Irving Couse, “The Sun Worshippers,” 1919, oil on canvas, (c) Adams Collection 2015

Museum President/CEO John Vanausdall says, “We are grateful to the Adams family for entrusting the Eiteljorg with this nationally significant collection. Rarely does a museum director get to experience a gift of such profound impact. The Adams Collection will enrich the museum and its offerings to the public in a meaningful way.”
Adams’s daughter Amy Strunk said, “The Eiteljorg Museum is one of the premier museums of Native American artifacts and Western art in North America, and it is appropriate that these priceless treasures will be housed at the Eiteljorg permanently. This collection was very special to my father, and our family hopes that those who view these items on display will walk away with the same sense of wonder and appreciation for the culture and heritage that these unique artifacts and works of art represent.”

Charles M. Russell, “Bucking Bronco,” 1899, watercolor on paper, (c) Adams Collection 2015

Thomas Moran’s “Grand Canyon” is one of the highlights of the collection, its beautiful palette, dramatic composition, and excellent state of preservation pulling the viewer in. Charles M. Russell’s “Bucking Bronco” watercolor is outstanding as well: At center, an intense scene unfolds as a cowboy attempts to control the wild beast as it thrashes around while onlookers in the background enjoy the entertainment.
To learn more, visit the Eiteljorg Museum.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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