2009 Winter Catalog, William R. Talbot Fine Art, Antique Maps & Prints Home

2009 Winter Catalog > 13. Nichols, “Midwest Morning.”

13. Dale William Nichols (1904-1995). “Midwest Morning,” 1945. Lithograph. 9 7/8 x 12 3/8" at plate mark with full margins. Signed beneath the image in pencil, l.r.: Dale Nichols. From an edition of 250. A crisp and spotless example in very fine condition.

Price: $3,200. [ Order ]

Dale Nichols was an important “American Scene” artist. While stylistically his work bears an affinity to that of artists like Thomas Hart Benton and Grant Wood, his method was uniquely focused. In his artistic process, Nichols drew almost exclusively on his childhood experiences growing up in rural Nebraska. He stated,

“I feel that an artist paints best what he has been exposed to during his youth. I think my memory paintings of my home state may be my only creations that I sign with full confidence.”

While this would certainly give rise to his classification as a ‘Regionalist,’ his frame of reference lends a dreamlike or surreal quality to his art. The present lithograph depicts a farm scene on a winterís night. A man driving a horse-drawn wagon sled surmounts the road that leads to his barn. The sky is black and heavy. Likewise, the rolling hills and snowdrifts are quite weighty. Through the indications of the landscape, there is a perception of the daily toil endured by the farmer.

Nichols went to Chicago at the age of twenty to study at the Academy of Fine Art. Most notably, he studied with the important graphic designer, Carl Werntz. He continued to live in Chicago through the 1930s, one year teaching at the University of Illinois. In the 1940s, he worked as Art Editor for Encyclopedia Britannica. He then traveled extensively, and retired to Arizona. Nichols authored two books on art theories and methods: A Philosophy of Esthetics, published in 1935, and Figure Drawing, published in 1957.

Nichols artworks are part of a number of important collections, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Spencer Museum of Art, the Museum of Nebraska Art, the Block Museum, and the Maier Museum of Art. In 1996, a painting by Nichols was reproduced on postcards issued by the U.S. Postal Service.

Refs.: Museum of Nebraska Art, monet.unk.edu; David Zellman, 300 Years of American Art.

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