Gallery Index
Oscar Wilde

Around ninety years before Yuriko Urayama moved into her first house in East Denver Irish playwright and author Oscar Fingal O'Flahetie Wills Wilde traveled from London to Denver, Colorado on a lecture tour to promote Gilbert and Sullivan's newest operetta at the time, Patience.

Oils On Canvas, Ed Adler

A beloved and gossiped about literary star in both Britain and the United States in those days, Wilde would, thirteen years later, be accused of "gross indecency with other men" and sentenced to two years hard labor after a highly publicized and sensationalized trial. Upon his release from prison in the spring of 1897 he would travel to Dieppe on a nighttime ferry, settle in France under the name Sebastian Melmoth and never return to England or Ireland again. He would die three years later in November of 1900.

Painter and art historian Ed Adler envisions Wilde's time in Colorado here in a series of paintings -- the very first to ever be published not simply as art, but as sociological analysis. With pop and fauvist colors, pulp fiction imagery and a bold sense of composition, the young and urbane Wilde, resplendent in his dark purple velvet coat, reminds us that as we pause to envision this moment in American life through these sixteen very geographically specific stories, every terrain we tread upon once absorbed the footing of someone else.

Ed Adler has taught art history and cultural studies at New York University and the Sorbonne in Paris. He is also the author of Departed Angels, The Lost Paintings of Jack Kerouac. This series of paintings of Oscar Wilde in Denver was first exhibited in the Morrison Concourse between the Denver Art Museum and Denver Public Library in the spring of 2007.