Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘American Regionalism’

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 idstinct 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 Sentinel Dale Nichols- Silent Morning  1972 Dale Nichols- Mail Delivery  1950 Dale Nichols-  Bringing Home the Tree

Read Full Post »

John Steuart Curry-- "Tragic Prelude" Mural depicting John Brown in Kansas

John Steuart Curry– “Tragic Prelude” Mural depicting John Brown in Kansas

One of my favorite genres of art is that of  American Regionalism.  You can lump painters like Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton  and  John Steuart Curry together as some of the  better known names in this group.  I am not particularly fond of the use of the word regionalist which seems to hint at some sort of narrow provincialism, a label that Eastern critics tried to pin on this Midwest-based movement of the 1930’s and 40’s.  But these painters and others who have been branded as Regionalists were not sentimental or naive.

In fact they espoused views that were often more aligned with progressive and socialist ideals.  Many of these artists were looking to make their work more accessible to the working class, something that they felt was lacking in the more elitist Modernist work of the time and simply used the landscape and people around them as the vehicle to convey these ideals.  This gave the work an inclusive populist quality that is especially appealing to me.  I like that their work is often simple to approach yet reveals so much more upon deeper inspection.

I have written about some of the more well known Regionalists such as Wood and Benton, as well as some of the lesser known names such as Alexander Hogue and Paul Sample but hope to shed some light in future posts on some of the more obscure names in this genre.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: