Regionalist art, depicting serene and reassuring images of America, grew out of the turbulence and uncertainty of the Great Depression.
Artists like Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton, Reginald Marsh, Andrew Wyeth and Dale Nichols painted scenes of the places they loved. Their paintings reflected the deep feelings they had for the places they knew well although, ironically, they weren’t always the places where they lived.
The feeling one gets from many regionalist paintings is one of nostalgia, a feeling of a place where one would go home for the holidays.
Dale Nichols: Searching for Home
Dale Nichols was raised on a farm in rural Nebraska, where he did chores, walked two miles to school…not the sort of life one imagines would lead to a sophisticated career in art and design…but it did.
Nichols traveled to Chicago, in 1924, when he was twenty, to study at the Chicago Academy of Art. He only stayed at the Academy for two months, but spent fifteen years working as an illustrator and designer in Chicago advertising agencies.
In the 1930s and 40s, Nichols had success with his fine art, as well as commercial success. His work was featured in Time Magazine, used on U.S. postage stamps and as advertisements on tin cans, paying cards and trays for companies like General Mills.
After becoming Art Editor of the Encyclopedia Britannica and earning a fine reputation as an artist, Nichols left Chicago and spent the rest of his life traveling and investigating mystical phenomena. He lived in Guatemala, California, Alaska, Arizona and Nevada and married five times.
The place Nichols didn’t return to, was his home in Nebraska, but it was the place he painted throughout his lifetime. Most of Nichols paintings contained a red barn in a bucolic setting.
Painted from memory, no matter where he traveled, Nichols’ thoughts always returned to the red barn of his childhood home. Nichols’ work can be found in the Smithsonian, in private collections and galleries around the U.S.
Dale Nichols at Surovek
Please contact us for more information about the works of Dale Nichols and other Regionalist artist for sale at Surovek Gallery.