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The Forgotten Artist/ Dale Nichols

I wrote about late artist Dale Nichols (1910-1995) a few years back after being completely charmed by his paintings of snowy scenes from his home state of Nebraska. In that blog entry I mentioned that there wasn’t a huge amount of info on the artist. The only book was a book that accompanied a show of his work from back in 2011 at a small but not unimportant museum, the Bone Creek Museum of Agrarian Art, in his hometown of David City, Nebraska. I was shocked to find that this book was selling for $458 on Amazon which is a testament to the lack of literature on this wonderful artist. Happily, I found a copy at a normal price at the museum’s online gift shop.

I came across a nice short called The Forgotten Artist from Nebraska public television that features Nichols’ work and the Bone Creek Museum. It is a charming look at his work and the relationship he had with his niece. I thought I’d rerun the article I ran earlier along with the video. Maybe it will help make Dale Nichols a little less forgotten.

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Dale Nichols- Company for SupperMost likely prompted by the recent weather here as well as a desire to try a slight change of palette, I have been doing a small group of snow paintings recently.  I thought I would look at several other artists, especially those with a distinct personal style,  to see how they handle snow in their work.  One of the artists whose snow works really stuck out  was Dale Nichols, who was born in Nebraska in 1904 and died in Sedona, AZ in 1995.  He is considered one of the American Regionalists,  that loosely defined group of painters whose work  for which I have long expressed my admiration.

Dale Nichols- After the Blizzard 1967His biography is a bit sparse with but Nichols lived a long and productive life, serving as an illustrator, a  college professor and the Art Editor of the Encyclopedia Brittanica.  He also spent a lot of time in Guatemala which resulted in a group of work with Meso-American forms that is quite different from his Regionalist work.

But Nichols is primarily known for his rural snow scenes and it’s easy to see why.  The colors are pure and vivid.  The snow, put on in multiple glazed layers with watercolor brushes has a luminous beauty.  The stylized treatment of the crowns of the bare trees adds a new geometry to the paintings.   There is a pleasant warmth, a nostalgic and slightly sentimental glow, to this work even though they are scenes that depict frigid winters on the plains of Nebraska.  Free of all angst, they’re just plain and simple gems.

You can see a bit more of Dale Nichols other work on a site  devoted to him by clicking here.

Dale Nichols- The SentinelDale Nichols- Silent Morning 1972Dale Nichols- Mail Delivery 1950Dale Nichols- Bringing Home the Tree




This post first appeared on Redtree Times, please read the originial post: here

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The Forgotten Artist/ Dale Nichols

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