Hoosier impressionist artist John Ottis Adams was born on July 8, 1851 in Johnson County, Indiana. He was a member of the renowned “Hoosier Group” of artists that reached their zenith during the period of 1890 through 1915.
Adams studied for two years at Wabash College before leaving for London to study at South Kensington Art School in London. He returned to the United States a few years later and opened a studio in Muncie. After four years he returned to Europe and studied at the Royal Academy in Munich, Germany. After seven years abroad, he returned to Muncie and opened another studio and taught art classes. He married his former art student, Winifred Brady, on October 1, 1898 at her parents’ home on East Charles Street in Muncie. Winfred’s sister Elizabeth was the wife of Frank Ball, co-founder of the Ball Brothers Manufacturing Company. Adams died on January 28, 1927. He and Winifred are both buried in Beech Grove Cemetery in Muncie.
Adams specialized in painting the rural landscapes of Indiana. He also painted portraits and copies of the masters in the National Gallery in London. One of these paintings, a copy of Peter Paul Rubens’ “The Lion Hunt” now hangs in the Local History and Genealogy center. The painting “Wheeling Pike as it appeared in 1891″ (Oil on canvas 22″ x 29″ signed I.I. J. Ottis Adams 1896) hangs in the Carnegie Branch of Muncie Public Library. This painting captures the pastoral beauty of Muncie and features the original Delaware County courthouse. For several years this painting hung over a judge’s desk at the Delaware County Circuit Court. It was purchased in 1904 for Muncie Public Library by board president, T. F. Rose. Currently, Muncie Public Library is selling note cards based on this painting for $5.00 at the Local History and Genealogy center.