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Europeans & Americans Abroad; Philadelphia Collection 73; September 2004
 
 

 
Burr H. Nicholls
(American, 1848–1915)
The Travelling Tinker, A Street Scene in Brittany, 1880
Oil on canvas, 18 × 22 inches
Signed, dated, and inscribed at lower left: “Burr H. Nicholls/Pont Aven/1880”
PROVENANCE: Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius Weygandt, Philadelphia
EXHIBITED (possibly): Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Fifty-Third Annual Exhibition (1882), as An Old House at Pont Aven (no. 237) or The Travelling Tinker, A Street Scene in Brittany (title from label on stretcher verso, which also gives price of frame—$13.00, and “Where to be sent if not sold”/[missing]“Arts Academy, Buffalo, NY” [Note: Nicholls also showed La Marchande de Choux (no. 161) at the Pennsylvania Academy in Paintings by American Artists at Home and in Europe (Nov. 1–Dec. 26, 1881)])


Burr H. Nicholls was born in 1848 in Lockport, New York. He studied with Lars Gustaf Sellstedt (1819–1911) in Buffalo, and then with Émile-Auguste Carolus-Duran (1837–1917) in Paris. Nicholls and the artist Frank Penfold (1849–1921), who was also from Lockport and had attended the Buffalo Academy, were both at Pont-Aven in Brittany, in 1880–82. Many of the American artists working there at that time, such as Thomas Hovenden (1840–1895) and William Lamb Picknell (1853–1897), were concerned with figure painting in broad sunlight. In 1883 Nicholls worked in Venice. He returned to New York City in 1884 and eventually settled in Stamford, Connecticut. Nicholls’s work includes landscapes, portraits, and genre paintings. He exhibited at the National Academy of Design in New York from 1873 to 1895, at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia from 1882 to 1895 (including paintings of Brittany in 1882 and again in 1890), and at The Art Institute of Chicago in 1888, 1889, and 1894. His paintings are in the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy (the label on this painting suggests that it may have been exhibited there), and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (Sunlight Effect, a painting similar in subject and handling to the one illustrated here, is in the Academy’s collection).


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