The highest guard 1915

A soldier in snowy high mountain landscape in side view, looking straight into the distance. He wears a white fur-trimmed long winter coat, heavy boots, on the head a uniform cap, the rifle shouldered.

Oil on canvas, dimensions unknown.
Signature: John Quincy Ɑdams Col Humbert (2780 m) 29. VII. (XII.?) 1915.
Monochrome photo: Künstlerhaus Archiv, Vienna.

The title of the picture "Der Höchste Wachtposten" (the highest guard) mentioned at the 1915 exhibition again conveys a propagandistic message: the k.u.k.. Army is climbing the highest peaks in the struggle of the war. Due to the snowy high mountain landscape and the thick winter coat, which is necessary at the temperatures prevailing at the icy heights around 3000 meters, the propagandistic image is less romantic than in its counterpart "Mei Heimatland" 1915 (see cross-references), the soldier rather triggers pity in the viewer because of the harsh conditions to which he is exposed while standing guard.

The Col Humbert mentioned in the signature could not be identified on maps. APH (1991) interprets the signature as "Col[onel] Humbert", but this is not plausible either. In the entry book of the Kunstlerhaus it is documented that the painting was purchased in 1915 by Adam's sister Mary Teltscher for 1000 crowns (date of delivery 27.3.1917). However, when her art collection was exported to the USA in 1951, the present painting was not among the numerous Adams paintings that Mary Teltscher faithfully kept. When and where the painting changed hands between 1917 and 1951 is unknown. The painting is therefore considered lost.



1915 Künstlerhaus Vienna (EL 61 1916/17 #527)


APH, catalog raisonné JQA 1995, p. 137, cat.#105, fig.#76.


1915 Mary Teltscher (sister of the artist).
Lost before 1951.
Unknown private collection.