Eric Adamson

Erik Adamson (1902---1968) was born in Tartu, Estonia. Russian influence was strong at this time; the ensuing revolution and the devastating fight between the Red Army and the German Nazi Army destroyed much of Tallinn during heavy Soviet bombing. Though various attempts at self-rule were tried, Estonia was annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940 and communism settled in by 1944. The Soviet era did not end until March of 1991, though the Soviet army did not leave until 1994, long after Adamson’s death [1].

After attending school in Estonia, he moved to Berlin where he studied at the Charlottenburg Art and Crafts School. In 1920, Margaret Lefranc was in Berlin and studied at the Kunstschule des Westens, although there is no evidence that they met while there.  Adamson travelled then to Paris [2]. Both Lefranc and Adamson studied art in Paris at a number of related institutions and artists.  One of the best known is the Atelier d’André Lhote. She studied with Charles Bissiére, and he studied with Roger Bissiére. Vasili Shukhaev had a private academy that Adamson attended in 1926. Lefranc attended the Académie Russe in 1925---26 to study with Basil Tchoukaieff [3].

Paris was the most vibrant, advanced and attractive city for the study art in the 1920s and 1930s, as it had been for decades [4].

The two budding artists fell in young love and spent seven years together. Adamson lived on a very meager stipend without many resources. Lefranc’s parents refused to let her marry him.  He returned to Tallinn, Estonia where he lived the rest of his life [5].

After decades of creating art, he achieved additional status as an administrator becoming Minister of Education. 

Adamson worked in many media, including usable art in ceramic, jewelry, metal, and leather, materials considered craft materials. His widow left the state approximately 1000 pieces of art that are now on permanent display in Tallinn at the Adamson-Eric Museum in the old town. The Museum was founded in 1984. 



[3] Ibid.  Katz, Lois. A Lifetime of Imaging: The Art of Margaret Lefranc.  Miami: Nouveau Ventures Unlimited, Inc., in association with the Margaret Lefranc Art Foundation, 2007. P. 60.

[4] Ibid.  Ibid.