b. David City, NB, 1904–Sedona, AZ, 1995
Dale Nichols grew up on his family’s grain farm, about 80 miles west of Omaha, Nebraska. Long associated with the regionalist painters Grant Wood, John Steuart Curry, and Thomas Hart Benton, Nichols was acclaimed for his idealized visions of farm landscapes, many of which included a kind of trademark, red barn. Nichols came to Chicago in the 1920s and attended the Academy of Fine Arts, a school that offered training in cartooning and commercial art. He studied briefly at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), as well. At the same time that he regularly exhibited his paintings and watercolors at annual exhibitions at the Art Institute, Nichols was a successful illustrator and commercial artist. He was assigned to the mural and easel divisions of the Illinois Art Project, and executed a mural for the Treasury Section at the Mount Morris, Illinois post office. After the death of Grant Wood in 1942, the Chicago-based Encyclopedia Britannica named Nichols as their art editor, a post he held until 1948, when he left Chicago to found an art school in Tubac, Arizona. Nichols traveled and painted in the American South, Southwest, and Alaska, and lived in Guatemala after 1960.