Land of the Midnight Sun, 1944

by Dale Nichols (1904–1995)
Oil on canvas
30⅛ x 40⅜ inches
Signed and dated lower right: DALE NICHOLS 1944

Information

Provenance

John Frederick Company, Chicago, Illinois

Private collection, Albany, New York

Sale, Christie’s, New York, New York, May 22, 1991, lot 327, from above

Private collection, Alpine, New Jersey

Sale, Heritage Auctions, Dallas, Texas, December 3, 2020, lot 68115, from above

Note: Alaska is sometimes called “The Land of the Midnight Sun” because at certain latitudes during the summer months, the sun remains consistently visible above the horizon. Beginning in the summer of 1937, and inspired by the travels and writings of fellow painter Rockwell Kent (1882–1971), Dale Nichols took several annual trips to Alaska. He lived in a small cabin outside Seward, Alaska, to draw and paint the dramatic landscapes around him.[1] In the bottom left of the composition appear the ubiquitous pink wildflowers known as the Fireweed.

[1] Cole Sartore, Worthy Rivals: Dale Nichols & Terence Duren (David City, NE: Bone Creek Art Museum, 2018), 21.

Artist Biography

A painter, designer, lithographer, and illustrator, Nichols was born in David City, Nebraska. The son of a farmer, Nichols was educated at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts (now the Art Institute of Chicago). His work is mostly closely associated with the American regionalist movement of the 1930s, and he is particularly well-known for his bucolic depictions of agrarian American scenery. His 1934 painting, End of the Hunt, received an award from the Art Institute of Chicago and in 1939, was acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His paintings have been compared to those of Grant Wood and Thomas

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A painter, designer, lithographer, and illustrator, Nichols was born in David City, Nebraska. The son of a farmer, Nichols was educated at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts (now the Art Institute of Chicago). His work is mostly closely associated with the American regionalist movement of the 1930s, and he is particularly well-known for his bucolic depictions of agrarian American scenery. His 1934 painting, End of the Hunt, received an award from the Art Institute of Chicago and in 1939, was acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His paintings have been compared to those of Grant Wood and Thomas Hart Benton.

Nichols participated in prestigious exhibitions throughout his lifetime, including at the Art Institute of Chicago, Denver Art Museum, and Dallas Museum of Art. He was the artist in residence at the University of Illinois from 1939 to 1940, and worked as a visiting professor for Carnegie Mellon University. He authored "A Philosophy of Esthetics" (1939) and provided illustrations for national magazines and two books, "A World History" (1940) and "Two Years Before the Mast" (1941). Nichols’s paintings were often reproduced for advertisements by companies such as General Mills, and in 1942 one of his winter scenes was featured on a United States postage stamp.

Today, Nichols’s paintings may be found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Art Institute of Chicago, Joslyn Art Museum, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Sheldon Museum of Art, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Museum of Nebraska Art, and Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block.

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