DALE NICHOLS, American (1904-1995), Evening Chores, oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches
DALE NICHOLS American, (1904-1995)
Evening Chores oil on canvas
signed lower right "Dale Nichols"
oil on canvas
30 x 40 inches
Provenance: Property from a distinguished American collection.
Framed dimensions: 36 1/4 x 46 1/4 x 2 inches
"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 recreations of farm life. As a child, he worked on his family farm and walked to school.
At the time, the search for a defined American Art was growing and the public was interested in scenes of American life. American collectors in the 1930s looked to buy Rural Regionalist art to capture the disappearing idyllic agricultural lifestyle. Nichols emerged as an artist when Regionalism and Rural Regionalism were growing as a collecting genre. His paintings are classified as a succession from Regionalist masters Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton and John Steuart 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.
Aside from his commercial success, around 1933, Nichols set out to become a painter. He found ample inspiration from his childhood and repeatedly painted scenes of farm life and barns. As an artist, he was well recognized and enjoyed critical acclaim. In 1934, his painting End of the Hunt received an award from the Art Institute of Chicago and in 1939 it was purchased by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1939 where it still hangs today.
The taste for Regionalism waned in the subsequent decade and Nichols moved to Arizona in 1940. He briefly started an art school and then moved to various locations throughout the United States including living on a small yacht. In 1960, he moved to Guatemala for some time. He painted his surroundings but continued to paint barn scenes even after he left Nebraska. Many of these are indistinguishable from his earlier paintings.
A reexamination of Regionalist art in recent decades has fortunately renewed interest in Nichols' paintings. In 2012, the Bone Creek Museum of Art organized a traveling retrospective exhibition, Dale Nichols: Transcending Regionalism. This exhibition cemented Nichols as the fourth American Regionalist alongside Wood, Benton and Curry. Nichols' work has been avidly collected in numerous public and private collections throughout the country as well as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Tags: listed artist, oil painting, farm scene, landscape, red barn, 20th century, Regionalist, Regionalism, Nebraska, Midwest
Condition: in overall excellent condition; unlined canvas; extremely minor touch-up upper center (UV photos available upon request); no other restoration apparent under UV Condition Report Note:
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