Indian Summer in Springfield

Indian Summer painting by A.D. Cook at Springfield Museum

It's like a homecoming, in a round about sort of way.

INDIAN SUMMER motorcycle painting by A.D. Cook

Springfield, Massachusetts, is after all, where the original Indian motorcycles were manufactured from 1901 to 1953, making Springfield the home of America’s first motorcycle. It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. That’s history, right there. As a side-note, Hendee Manufacturing Company initially produced the motorcycles, but the name was changed to the Indian Motorcycle Manufacturing Company in 1923 (source: Wikipedia). In 1953 the Indian Motorcycle Manufacturing Company went bankrupt. Various organizations tried to perpetuate the Indian Motorcycle brand over the following years, but each had limited success.

In 1998, California Motorcycle Company made a run at re-introducing the Indian® motorcycle back into the American motorcycle culture with a Scout, Spirit, and Chief line-up to compete with Harley-Davidson® motorcycles.

I immediately fell in love with the new Chief, the largest motorcycle in their lineup. It’s extra-wide beach bars and huge flowing fenders reminded me of an era gone, paying homage to the long-past Chiefs of ’53. I wanted one. And if I was ever gonna get one it would have to be red, inspired by the great racing Indian motorcycles before.

My painting, INDIAN SUMMER, features an official Indian motorcycle of the period, circa 2000.

While I never got the motorcycle, I did create a painting of my favorite new bike, and in 2002 I presented my painting to the execs at the Gilroy manufacturing plant and was just a signature away from being the official Indian Motorcycle artist.

Sadly, as in 1953, Indian motorcycle went the way of the forgotten highway, bankrupt and broken once again ending production in 2003. The future of America’s original motorcycle company was uncertain. My future, however, was clearly certain, making Indian Summer the first, and the last, of the Indian motorcycle paintings.

A few years later, Indian Motorcycles was revitalized once again and has been manufactured by the folks at Polaris Industries since 2011.

Like a beautiful spring day on a motorcycle in the open wind, it took a while to get here. From Indian Motorcycle Company in 1953, to Gilroy, California in 2000, to Polaris Motorcycle Company years later, to Springfield, somehow it feels fitting, if only for a while.

And for me, as an artist, displaying my paintings (Indian Summer along with two others), is a special honor, not only because of my amazing fellow LUSTER artists (14 in all) but also because of the noted artists whose work resides at the museum. Located in the heart of downtown Springfield, Massachusetts, the Springfield Museums offer access to five world-class museums, including the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum and the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden, all under a single admission.

• • • • •

INDIAN SUMMER by A.D. Cook, along with over four dozen other artworks, is showcased through August 23rd, 2020, as part of the LUSTER Realism and Hyper-realism in Contemporary Automobile and Motorcycle Paintings Exhibit. Visit for more information on exhibit hours and details.

Also featured, AMERICA and DREAM 103 by A.D. Cook

America motorcycle art by A.D. Cook (detail shot)

DREAM 103 by A.D. Cook, motorcycle artist   



The Springfield Museums
Home of the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum & the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden


The LUSTER EXHIBIT features artists A.D. Cook (Las Vegas, NV), Randy Ford (Eastampton, NJ), Allan Gorman (West Orange, NJ), Marc G. Jones (Loveland, CO), Cheryl Kelley (Northern California), Richard Lewis (Los Angeles, CA), Lory Lockwood (New Orleans, LA), Robert Petillo (Hardyston, NJ), Kris Preslan (Lake Oswego, OR), Joseph Santos (Buena Park, CA), Ken Scaglia (Weston, CT), John E. Schaeffer (La Grange, TX), Guenevere “Moto Painter” Schwien (Portland, OR), and Harold D. Zabady (Camp Hill, PA).

Produced by David J. Wagner, L.L.C., David J. Wagner, Ph.D., Curator/Tour Director

Exhibition photos provided by the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Art © Copyright by their respective owners. Images used by permission.

See more LUSTER EXHIBIT pics at

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