Click the Image to Enlarge

Shulz, Adolph R. Turkey Roost, 1918


Adolph Shulz was born, in Delavan, Wisconsin. He studied at the Art Students League in New York City and at the Académie Julian in Paris. From his German parents he gained a deep love for nature and the world of art. He spent much time in the country studying wild flowers, trees, birds, and animals.

On a walking tour of Indiana, Shulz discovered Brown County. In 1917 he and his first wife, Ada Walter Shulz, also an artist, built a studio and home in Nashville. He was a pioneer of the colony of artists that Brown County has since sustained. According to Mary Quick Burnet, Shulz said of Brown County, “There exists the rare color and caressing atmosphere of the South so dear to the artist. We also find a people and a civilization as hospitable as its air, and I firmly believe that Brown County is destined to become the greatest sketching-ground in the Middle West.”

  • Turkey Roost, 1918
  • 34 1/4″ x 44″
  • Indianapolis Museum of Art
  • Keywords: paintings, natural landscapes, cultural landscapes, oil on canvas
  • Subjects: outdoors, trees, wild animals, birds, Brown County Art Colony

This painting may be considered rather odd subject matter, but it makes a striking composition. By creating a perspective with the horizon line below the roost, the artist has focused attention on the roost and the turkeys, outlining them against the sky. Turkeys like to roost in the air because they are susceptible to pneumonia and need protection from the damp ground. The roost also offers protection against wild animals.

Some Points To Consider

  • Ask students: What does this painting tell us about farming in 1918? Do we see turkey roosts today as we drive through the countryside of Indiana? Why is this painting important historically? (Art 4.1.1)
  • Have students identify the characteristics of Impressionism that are used in this painting. Help them consider the expressive properties achieved by the choice of the up-close turkey roost. What do they think the artist was striving to do? (Art 4.3.1)

Suggested Activities for Classroom Follow-Up

  • Allow class time for students to research the behavioral habits of turkeys. How do their habits contrast to those of other fowl?