Ada Walter Shulz

female 1870-1928
19th/20th Century
Life city:
Nashville, IN
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Ada Walter Schulz was born in Terre Haute, Indiana October 21, 1870. Her father, who was an architect, died from diphtheria while Ada was young, and the family moved to Indianapolis when she was thirteen. Upon entering Shortridge High School, Ada began to draw with regularity. Her teacher, Miss Roda Selleck, inspired her with a love of drawing. Ada was friends with the children of T. C. Steele and one summer spent a camping trip with that family in Crawfordsville, Indiana. Here she spent time sketching from nature with some help from Mr. Steele. Ada's mother thought that in order to succeed in any line, everything else must be excluded from thought. As a result of this idea, the family moved to Chicago where Ada could devote her whole time to drawing. She entered the Art Institute in 1889 and studied there for about four years. She studied with Vanderpoel, Grover and Freer. Another teacher, Miss Cohn, remarked on Ada's ability to paint children and Ada thought she was perhaps influenced by this remark. In the summer of 1892 Ada joined the Vanderpoel-Bontwood sketching class which made its first trip to Delevan, Wisconsin. Here she met Adolph Schulz whom she married in 1894. They left together for Paris to study and she enrolled at the Academie Witti and studied under Merson and Collin. She received criticisms from Aman Jean and Annie Morot and also a memorable criticism from Henry Whistler. It was at this school she received the bronze medal for the best nude drawing. In the spring Ada and Adolph opened a studio in Munich. Their son, Walter, was born here in June, 1895, and they returned to Delevan with him later that year. After the return to Delevan, Ada devoted her time to caring for Walter, occasionally sketching him, and it was not until 1906 that she began to paint again with any regularity. In 1907 she sent several pictures to exhibition in Chicago and sold two the following year, encouraging her in her art work. Like his parents, Walter became a student at the Chicago Art Institute in the fall of 1913. The following year the family exhibited their paintings in the gallery of the Milwaukee Art Society and critics were quick to praise them. With the encroachment of dairy farms upon Delevan, Adolph grew frustrated with the disappearance of the scenic vistas around town. He decided to explore the hill country around Nashville, Indiana and the family spent the summers there from 1908 until 1917 when they moved there permanently, purchasing property that had once belonged to Gustave Baumann. Ada used the people of Brown County as models in her paintings. In 1915 she was gratified to read that the Chicago Evening News considered her 'Motherhood' to be among the best paintings of the twenty-eighth annual exhibition of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1916 'The Picture Book' took an award and in 1917 'Mother and Child' took the Purchase Prize. On December 12, 1918 the Schulzes' beloved son, Walter, died of diphtheria. Ada and Adolph were devastated, blaming each other for the loss of their son. The death became a breach in their marriage. Ada became involved with volunteer work while Adolph began to take "Sunday Painters' on tramps through the hills of Brown County. In 1924 Adolph left Ada and moved in with one of his students, Alberta Rehm-Miller and her daughter Emilie, into a cabin studio near town. A divorce was granted in 1926, the same year Adolph married Alberta. With Adolph gone, Ada felt free to explore the subject of landscapes with real enthusiasm and painted more landscapes in 1924 than any other year. In the midst of this work, however, she began to feel ill. With the religious conviction of a Christian Scientist she refused any attempt at medical treatment. It was thought by friends and family that she died of cancer at her home in Brown County in 1928. The recognition Ada's work received in her own time was distinctive considering her gender and locale. Her paintings were exhibited widely in Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. Her work received merits from several institutions including the Hoosier Salon. She was also commissioned for magazine covers including The Advance in 1914, Woman's Home Companion in 1920 and the Literary Digest in 1924. Paintings by Schulz continue to intrigue today. Her ability in capturing facial expressions with slight detail and skill in rendering movement, along with an intense sense of color, combine to create strong memorable paintings. There is little doubt of Ada's philosophy 'to bring joy to the heart' through her art into the world in which she lived. We are interested in purchasing artwork by Ada Shulz. Please contact us if you have pieces you are considering selling.

Brown County Cabin Study Girl with Butter Churn Haymaker In the Woods Brown County Cabin Summer Morning in Nashville

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