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Shulz, Ada Gray Goose, No Date


Born in Terre Haute, Ada Walter Shulz is best known for her light-filled, outdoor paintings of mothers and children, such as Gray Goose. She moved to Indianapolis as a teenager and enrolled in Shortridge High School, where her talent for painting was encouraged. In 1889, after graduating high school, she moved to Chicago with her mother and attended the Art Institute of Chicago. On a summer excursion of the Art Institute program to Delavan, Wisconsin, she met her future husband, painter Adolph Shulz, and after two years they married in 1894. The couple spent the next few years traveling and studying abroad, first in Paris, then Munich, before settling back in Delavan.

  • Gray Goose, n.d.
  • 30″ x 27″
  • ? Courtesy of Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites
  • Keywords: paintings, oil on canvas
  • Subjects: people, women, children, domestic animals, Brown County Art Colony

The Shulzes began spending summers in Brown County, Indiana, in 1908 and eventually bought property once owned by Gustave Baumann, moving permanently to Brown County in 1917. Ada Shulz was inspired by the people, land, flora, and fauna of the area, and local children and barnyard animals were often used as subjects in her paintings such as Gray Goose. Inspired by her Christian Scientist faith, Ada Shulz strived to create bright, airy, and joyful paintings that would uplift people’s spirits.

Some Points To Consider

  • Ada Shulz wanted her paintings to uplift people’s spirits. Ask students what meaning they find in her choice of colors, pose of the girl and the goose, and the background. How are those features painted to create a bright and airy feeling? Does this painting uplift spirits? Why or why not? (Art 4.3.1)
  • Ask students if their response to the painting would be different if Shulz had painted the same figures and objects on a gloomy day. (Art 4.5.1)
  • Ask: Do you like this painting? Why or why not? What criteria did you use to decide? (Art 4.4.2)