A painter of desert and cowboy
landscapes in an area from El Paso to Tucson, Arizona, Audley Dean
Nicols earned national recognition from these views of cowboys and
cattle and the landscape in which they lived. He was a member of the
National Academy of Design and also did portraits, illustrations,
murals, and miniatures.
Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he was
part of an artistic family with a mother who was an art instructor and
an aunt, Maria Nicols, who originated Rockwood pottery. He first
studied art with his mother and then attended the Art Students League
and the Metropolitan School of Fine Arts in New York City. He went to
Europe for further study and then became an illustrator for Harper's, Scribners, and Colliers.
the late 1920s or early 1930s, suffering from a tubercular hip, he
settled in El Paso, Texas, a place he had seen on earlier tours of the
United States and first visited in 1919. From there he began to "paint
western scenes in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California." He
worked in Tucson, and his painting, In the Western Desert, six feet by seven feet, was installed at the Gadsten Hotel in Douglas, Arizona.