Audley Dean Nicols 

      Audley Dean Nicols (1875-1941) an El Paso, Texas artist began his art studies at the Art Students League & Metropolitan Art Club  in New York studying under Kenyon Cox, Edwin Howland Blashfield, Henry Siddons Mowbrey and  later in Europe.

     Audley Dean Nicols while living in Pittsburg began visiting El Paso and the Southwestern states  c1914 spending Summer months in El Paso, Texas and Southern Arizona painting desert scenes before moving to El Paso in 1919 with his new bride Mary Mahoney. His early life was spent in New York, Pittsburg & Sewickley, Pa. He illustrated for McClure's, Cosmopolitan, Collier's and other well known magazines. He has painted portraits and some of his family in meticulous detail and scenes for illustration, but feels that the desert landscape painting finds expression for not only his art but love of nature and life. While in El Paso, he painted desert scenes and canyons of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.

       Nicols desert landscapes were the first which pictured the spectacular light, the changing color and the bare mountains which take hold of all "tenderfeet" who come to the desert. He wrote in the Sewickley Herald in 1916 an article stating "The desert is everything but gray. There are clean fresh blues, pinks and yellows in the skys, opalescent purple, rose and lavender in the ever-present distant mountains, reds and yellows in the rock & earth, but never gray." Nicols desert scenes were displayed at Pittsburg's Wunderly Gallery in 1915. After moving to El Paso, his works were exhibited mainly in the El Paso area and the Collins Art Shop in San Antonio.

       Audley Dean Nicols came to the Southwest as he was tired of painting lush Eastern Landscapes. The sand, sagebrush and the blue Mountains of the Southwest caught his imagination. The first few seasons in Arizona he went alone deep into the desert and camped for weeks. He wanted to personally feel the heat of the day and the cold of the night so he could get this effect and feelings on canvas.

       Nicols liked the climate of the desert so much he decided to stay. He built his house in El Paso at the foothill of the Franklin Mountains. His house was in the desert and the city of El Paso expanded to his door.

        His paintings were in high demand and bringing high prices for paintings in which he immortalized "Ship of the Desert", "Superstition Mountain", "Signal Peak", "Cave Creek in Chiricahua Mountains". His first sale of a desert landscape was sold to C.W. Post in Chicago, the founder of Post Cereal.

       During the years his paintings were in demand, interest in the artist was keen. Mr. Nicols remained a mystery except to a few close friends to whom he loved to exchange stories of the Southwest. One of those friends was General Robert L. Howze, Commander of Fort Bliss.

       Nicols never gave an interview. He never solicited an order and never duplicated paintings. In 1927/1930 from sales records, his paintings measuring 14x22 sold at between $250 to $500 each at Collins Art Shop in San Antonio, Texas. A large amount for that period of time.

     Nicols won awards in all three of the Davis Competitions in the late 20's at the Witte Museum in San Antonio.

        Biography Copyright Fine Arts of Texas, Inc.

 Nicols Studio c1917


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