Artist Biography

Charles Wesley NICHOLSON
1886 - 1965

Charles Wesley Nicholson was born near French Lick, Indiana on June 25, 1886. He obtained a teacher’s certificate from the state of Indiana and taught in a log cabin for three years. In 1908 he moved to Chicago, obtained employment at Marshall Fields, and enrolled at the Art Institute of Chicago. After his art training he traveled with vaudeville shows, painting and designing sets. After serving in the Army during World War One, he could see the decline of vaudeville and opted to move to Los Angeles where the movie business would provide employment. After settling into a studio, he worked as a freelance artist for various movie studios and sold his paintings on the side. With the onset of the Depression, his painting sales were few so he changed his style to Impressionism in an attempt to generate business. He traveled in his Model A Ford to paint the desert near Palm Springs, the wild poppies near Bakersfield, missions, and the coast of the Monterey Peninsula. While painting along side the road with his pet cockateel perched on his shoulder, he would display his paintings on his car to passing motorists who readily bought them. Nicholson died in Los Angeles on December 20, 1965.

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