San Francisco International Airport
This is a series by Mark Adams. They include Garden Outside Gate, Garden in Golden Gate Park, and Garden in San Andreas Valley. They have been in storage for over 20 years at the SFAC. They were brought out and installed as part of the complete remodel of Terminal 2 at SFO. They are absolutely stunning, and thank goodness they have been brought out for all to enjoy.
Woven in the traditional Aubusson style, these flax woven wool tapestries represent various gardens that the artist remembers from his years living in San Francisco. Irises, hydrangeas, chrysanthemums and wild dahlias are featured in rich, deep shades.
His 2006 obituary Reads:
Mr. Adams was known for the grace and delicacy of his spare, single-object still life pictures, and for the big stained-glass windows and tapestries he was commissioned to create for churches, synagogues, libraries and office buildings around the Bay Area. He made stained-glass windows for Temple Emanu-El and Grace Cathedral in San Francisco and the Lafayette-Orinda United Presbyterian Church, among others, and did tapestries for such diverse places as the San Francisco International Airport, the Marina branch of the San Francisco Public Library and the Dallas Fairmont Hotel.
Mr. Adams’ more intimate work was shown in group and solo exhibitions at museums and galleries around the Bay Area and the country and found its way into many private collections.
“He was a lovely man, a real gentleman with a great soul,” said San Francisco art dealer John Berggruen, who showed Mr. Adams’ work for 25 years. “He did these beautifully poetic watercolors that had a real presence about them. His floral images, and his depiction of common everyday objects, were very compelling. We would exhibit his watercolors every two or three years, and they’d all sell. People would be lined up at the gallery at 9:30 in the morning to buy them. He had a wonderful run.”
Berggruen recalled the warm feeling of the old Mission District firehouse where Mr. Adams and his wife, artist Beth Van Hoesen, lived, worked and entertained friends for more than 50 years.
Mr. Adams was born in Fort Plain, N.Y., and studied at the University of Syracuse’s School of Fine Arts. He moved to New York City in 1945 and studied at painter Hans Hoffman’s School of Fine Arts and at Atelier 17. The next year, he hitchhiked to San Francisco and worked on the restoration of Carmel’s Mission San Carlos Borromeo under the leadership of Harry Downie, digging ditches and painting the Stations of the Cross in a Spanish Colonial style in the mission chapel.
After further study at Columbia University, Mr. Adams returned to San Francisco and got a job making window displays at Gump’s. Inspired by the tapestries he had seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, he began creating his own tapestries in 1952. His first piece was included in a show of religious art that year at the de Young Museum. Three years later, he apprenticed with French tapestry designer Jean Lurçat and traveled with his wife through Europe and North Africa.
Returning to San Francisco, Mr. Adams began doing commissioned tapestries for public and private buildings, and in 1960 got the first of many stained-glass commissions, for San Francisco’s Clarendon School. He was painter in residence at the American Academy in Rome in 1963 and over the years taught at various colleges in the Bay Area and beyond