Portrait of Dr. Fleming Carrow
This is only one in a series of three portraits for the University of Michigan’s Kellogg Eye Center that were commissioned as a result of Dr. Paul Lichter’s desire to both honor his predecessors and strengthen the tradition of portraiture at the University. The 120 year old Department of Ophthalmology has had only had six chairmen and the completion of the three posthumous portraits - based on late 19th and early 20th century sepia-toned photographs provided by The University of Michigan’s Bentley Library archives – are thought to be instrumental in reminding future leaders of their history .
The task of creating the posthumous portraits – portraits that reveal breath and life - proved to be challenging. However, as Adams states, “Although my approach to painting is regarded by some as tedious, I believe it offers its own rewards with regard to capturing flesh tones and luminosity in the skin through the application of multiple layers of transparent glazes rather than direct painting alone.” A further goal was to establish the color palette that accurately reflected the fashion of the day – a task made easier by studying the works of Cecelia Beaux, William Merritt Chase, and of course, John Singer Sargent. Adams continues, “While sadly, I may have mistakenly painted the hair or eye color incorrectly….we’ll never know for sure…but my sincere hope is that my portraits, more importantly…. accurately and successfully represent the unique and essential character of each of these gentlemen.”