Born in Seattle in 1916, Harry Curieux Adamson has studied wildlife and its habitat for over half a century. While he occasionally paints other birds and mammals, the emphasis has always been on waterfowl. Whether it be rippling skeins of snow geese against a blue sky or pink-eared ducks in Australia’s heartland, the artist’s fascination with these birds has never left him, as attested by the fact that he has observed one hundred sixteen species of ducks and geese in the wild.
Adamson studied under Paul J. Fair, a nationally recognized sculptor and wildlife photographer. A period of book illustration at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology in Berkeley, California also contributed to his early training.
After serving our country for more than four years in World War II, the artist began his pursuit of a full-time career in portraying wildfowl in oil. Gradually his work found wider acceptance and in 1952 a pintail painting was purchased by the then President of Mexico, Miguel Aleman Valdez.
Adamson is described by internationally famous wildlife artist David Maass as “unsurpassed when it comes to portrayals of wildfowl on the wing in their natural surroundings.” Wildlife artist Owen Gromme says Adamson is simply “one of the finest waterfowl artists in the world.”
Throughout his lengthy career, Adamson has observed, studied and painted the colorful participants in the massive annual waterfowl migration. Although best known for his landscapes awash with flocks of mallards and pintails, on occasion Adamson has painted bighorn sheep, condors and falcons, and the unusual and colorful tropical birds encountered during his many trips abroad.
Part of the appeal of Adamson’s paintings is that, “He paints to the hunter’s dream.” Although Adamson has never been a hunter himself, many of his paintings, done from the position of a duck blind, evoke memories in the outdoors enthusiast, whether they be of an early-morning close-up view of a flock of mallards or of a stunning landscape experienced. A lover of nature and the outdoors, Adamson has, over his lifetime, donated paintings and prints worth close to three million dollars to raise money for conservation causes. Adamson was a founding member of the Mt. Diablo Audubon Society.
Adamson’s work has frequently been displayed nationally and internationally in the prestigious “Birds in Art” and “Animals in Art” exhibitions, and has been shown at the Smithsonian Art Museum, the British Museum and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, among others. He was named the first California Waterfowl Association Artist of the Year and 1979 Ducks Unlimited Artist of the Year.