Find, Learn, Price Art
Enjoy the comprehensive art database we've compiled since 1987
Membership Details
Images, sales charts, bios, signatures, 30 artist Alerts and more ...
Art auction records:  Millions of references for pricing research
Or, register for Free Alerts
To track 10 artists.

Already a member?  Sign in here

Hugo Nahl

 (1833 - 1889)
Hugo Wilhelm Arthur Nahl was active/lived in California / Germany.  Hugo Nahl is known for genre, landscape, animal.

Hugo Nahl

Biography from the Archives of askART

Biography photo for Hugo Nahl
Born in Kassel, Germany in 1883 into a long line of artists. Arthur studied art with his brother Charles and at the Kassel Academy. In 1846 the two brothers moved to Paris where they studied with Vernet and Delaroche. Caught up in the French Revolution, they decamped to NYC in 1849 and two years later sailed for California in search of gold. The brothers worked for a few months in the gold fields, but soon abandoned mining for an art studio in Sacramento. The great fire of 1852 burned most of the city as well as their studio. They then settled in San Francisco where Arthur worked with his brother as a commercial artist, portrait painter, engraver, and daguerreotyper. His commercial work included re-designing the California state seal. The Nahl brothers were fine athletes; the gymnasium in their backyard was the crude beginnings of the Olympic Club and served as its headquarters from 1855-60. After his marriage in 1865 to Annie Sweeney, Arthur moved across the bay to Alameda where he remained. He died on the ferry en route to his home on April 1, 1889. Equally facile in oil, watercolor, charcoal, and crayon, his subjects include portraits, landscapes, animal and genre scenes. Exh: San Francisco Art Association, 1874-89; Calif. State Fair, 1876-88 (medal); Calif. Midwinter Int'l Expo, 1894. In: Oakland Museum; CHS.

Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
California Art Research, 20 volumes; California Pictorial (Van Nostrand & Coulter); California on Stone (Peters); New York Historical Society's Dictionary of Artists in America (Groce, George C. and David H. Wallace); Artists of the American West (Doris Dawdy); Dictionary of American Art (Baigell); First 100 Years of Painting in California (J. Van Nostrand); Artists of the American West (Samuels); Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs, et Graveurs (Bénézit, E).

Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

Biography from the Archives of askART
Biography photo for Hugo Nahl
Born in Kassel, Germany, to a renowned family of artists, he and his brother Charles Nahl, attended the art academy of Kassel and then went to Paris to study with Horace Vernet and Paul Delaroche. After the 1848 Revolution in France, the Nahl family emigrated to New York City, and then Charles and Hugo went to California for the Gold Rush. However, they did more sketching than successful gold mining, and in 1852 went to Sacramento where they earned money as portrait painters. They also illustrated books and magazines, but lost most of their work that year in a studio fire. They relocated in San Francisco and set up a commercial art and photography studio, from which they made a living for the next 15 years.

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

Share an image of the Artist

  Full access to biographies is
  free each Friday

About  Hugo Nahl

Born:  1833 - Kassel, Germany
Died:   1889 - while on Bay ferry from San Francisco, California
Known for:  genre, landscape, animal