Sale 1016 Lot 36
Sunset on the Farm
“Farm life was all I knew for the first 20 years of my life. In painting these canvases, I felt again the vastness of endless skies, experienced again the penetrating cold of Nebraska winters, lived again as farmers live …in spirit, I am very much a farmer.” Dale Nichols.
Dale Nichols was born in rural David City, Nebraska in 1904. His early life had a profound influence on his paintings which centered on the recreations of the farm life. The search for pure American Art was growing and the public was interested in scenes of American life. Nichols emerged as an artist when Regionalism and Rural Regionalism were growing as a collecting genre. His paintings are classified as a succession from Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton and John Stuart Curry.
Nichols studied in Chicago at the Academy of Fine Arts and the Art Institute with Carl Wentz. He became a successful illustrator, watercolorist, designer, writer,
lecturer, block-printer and painter. In the 1930s and 40s he created artwork for direct mail industrial advertising. From 1942-1948 he succeeded Grant Wood as art editor of the Encyclopedia Britannica. During his career, he had eighteen solo exhibitions and exhibited in more that eighty regional and national exhibitions.
In Sunset on the Farm, offered here, Nichols’ talent for reproducing light and shadows is evident. His distinctive style has attracted collectors since the 1930s. Sunset on the Farm captures the qualities and themes of his best paintings. The painting illustrates how despite the snow and the cold, farm work in Nebraska goes on. At sunset, the farmer, his son and his dog all walk home together. The sense of eeriness and quiet in Sunset on the Farm gives the painting a sense of otherworldliness, barns and rolling hills dominate the landscape rather than skyscrapers and pavement.
American collector’s in the 1930s looked to buy Rural Regionalist art to capture the disappearing idyllic agricultural lifestyle. Nichols’ work has been avidly collected since in numerous public and private collections throughout the country as well as the Metropolitan
Museum of Art in New York.