Willis Seaver Adams

Willis Seaver Adams (1842–1921) was a landscape painter who studied under James Abbott McNeill Whistler. He studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium and was part of the Tonalism movement, which took place in the late 19th century.

Adams was born in Suffield, Connecticut, in 1842. His father was Stephen Lorenzo Adams, also known as Pole Adams; his mother was Susan Adams. His father was a farmer and operated a tavern out of the house located by the Enfield and Suffield Covered bridge over the Connecticut River. In Willis’ childhood, his father attempted to make him a farmer and a school master yet failed due to Willis’ dreams to be involved with art. From 1857 to 1862 Adams sporadically attended the Connecticut Literary Institute, now known as Suffield Academy. While at the school Adams filled his books with sketches of animals and the people around him.

Adams’ painting can be located today at Suffield Academy, Kent Memorial Library in Suffield, The Wadsworth Atheneum, Mount Holyoke College and Smith College. In 1966, Deerfield Academy organized a retrospective exhibit.