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 Cassilly Adams  (1843 - 1921)

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Lived/Active: Indiana/Ohio      Known for: genre, historical-west, Indian portrait

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Ad Code: 3
Cassily Adams
from Auction House Records.
Warning the Wagon Train, 1883
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A painter of western frontier life, Cassily Adams is best remembered for his epic work, Custer's Last Fight, 9 and 1/2 feet by 16 feet, 5 inches, and completed in 1885.  The copyright to this particular painting was obtained by the Anheuser- Busch Brewing Company, which made and circulated thousands of reproductions.  Because Adams did most of his work for book publishers who did not credit him, he was a relatively unknown artist during his lifetime.

He was born in Zanesville, Ohio and was a descendant of American founding father, John Adams.  He studied at the Boston Academy of Arts with Thomas Noble and later at the Cincinnati Art School.  During the Civil War, he was in the army and was wounded at the Battle of Vicksburg.

In the 1870s, he moved to St. Louis where he worked for an engraver and did fine art painting including Custer's Last Fight, which took one year to paint and which the St. Louis Art Club exhibited around the country, charging admission.  For models, he posed Sioux Indians in actual dress and cavalrymen in uniforms.  In 1895, the brewery gave the painting to the 7th Cavalry, and it was destroyed in a fire at Fort Bliss, Texas in 1946.

He died in 1921 at Trader's Point near Indianapolis, Indiana.

Peggy and Harold Samuels, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West
Note from Sarah Boehme, Buffalo Bill Historical Center, December 2005

Re the artist who painted Custer's Last Fight.  Askart has his name as Cassily Adams, based on the Samuels bio.   But every other source that I know of has the spelling as: Cassilly Adams.  We have some original manuscript material from the artist and from his family and the spelling appears to be:  Cassilly. 

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

Cassilly Adams is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Civil War Art

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