About David Adickes
"My goal is to create beautiful art which will bring pleasure to people both now and for centuries to come."
It can be said that viewing David Adickes’ art is nothing short of an historic experience. A prominent member of the Houston art scene since the 1950s, he is always ready to share one of his stories or a quippy joke. While his most visible works are his giant sculptures spread throughout Houston, Adickes has spent the last seven decades producing paintings that blend a classic style with a touch of whimsy.
Originally from Huntsville, TX, Adickes studied art at the Kansas City Art Institute, followed by two years at the Atelier Fernand Leger in Paris. He moved to Houston in the spring of 1951. By December of that year, he had a one-man show at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston (MFAH). Following that explosive debut onto the Houston art scene, Adickes continued to build an impressive resume.
Longing to stretch his horizons even further, both geographically and artistically, David expanded his world view with extended stays in France, a summer in Tahiti, and a two-year, around-the-world journey. During these treks David continued to develop his skill as an artist, continuously sending paintings back to his home base in Houston: Dubose Gallery, headed by gallerist Ben Dubose.
By the end of his first decade as an artist, he had added more than a dozen one-man shows to that first Houston exhibition. Locations included the Witte Museum in San Antonio, Laguna Gloria Gallery in Austin, Formes Gallery in Tokyo and Osaka, Hayden Calhoun Gallery in Dallas, Gallerie de la Vieille Echoppe in St. Paul-de-Vence, and Janet Nessler Gallery in New York, as well as shows in Ft. Worth, Longview, and several at the Bute Gallery in Houston. In addition, Adickes paintings received top honors in numerous competitions sponsored by the Texas Fine Arts Association, the Texas Water Color Society, the MFAH, and others. Examples of his work were acquired by the James A. Michener Art Foundation and the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, as well as the Witte Museum and MFAH.
In 1982 David’s art shifted dramatically to monumental concrete sculpture, thanks to a commission by Houston businessman Joe Russo. The result, erected in 1983, was “The Virtuoso,” a 36-foot tall abstract cello. During this period he also produced the “Stone Cornet,” currently in Galveston, and the “French Telephone,” displayed atop a building in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston, just around the corner from Reeves Art + Design. This was Adickes’s frame of mind, when, in 1992, he proposed a giant statue of Sam Houston to help commemorate the Texas hero’s bicentennial. The Sam Houston statue, titled “A Tribute to Courage,” established David Adickes as a sculptor of monumental works. Just a few short years later, David opened the first of two Presidential parks, featuring 18-foot concrete busts of all US Presidents. Other giant sculptures followed, and Adickes is still working on giant projects today.
Now in his mid-90s, Adickes often describes himself as an “analog cork floating on a digital sea trying to find land.” Even though he might view himself as analog, his body of work has proven to transcend the test of time and speak to the hearts of many generations.