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 James "Jim" Davis Nelson  (1943 - )

About: James "Jim" Davis Nelson


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Lived/Active: Kansas/New York      Known for: Painting (western scenes, portraits)

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
James "Jim" Davis Nelson was born December 21, 1943 in Beloit, Kansas.  He grew up in Colorado.  Attended the Art Students League and the National Academy of Design in New York and did murals of the Old West for the Raymond Loewy Industrial Design Firm.  Served with the 25th Infantry as a combat artist in Vietnam.  After getting out of the army in 1968, James spent a year in Europe copying the old masters in the museums.  He returned first to New York and then to Kansas to live on the family farm that had been homesteaded by his great-grandfather in Jewell County.  He enrolled in the Beloit Vocation Technical School to study farm mechanics and worked for many years repairing farm machinery and farming. Eventually he resumed painting first working for funeral homes then banks and churches.  He also developed an interest in wind energy and alternative fuels such as the oil discarded by
restaurants.  His painting career expanded to include portraits and for 18 years, Nelson
spent his winters in Vancouver, British Columbia painting commissioned portraits.  Working through the Hudson Bay Department Stores, he completed over 3,000 works during his time in Canada.  Nelson also became interested in publishing and his work was published in a book, Vietnam War Paintings (Clinton, LA: St. John’s Press, 2003) and as cover art for Dog Soldier Justice; the Ordeal of Susana Alderdice in the Kansas Indian War (Lincoln, KS: Lincoln County Historical Society, 2003).

Exhibitions: Manhattan Public Library, 1973.
Susan Craig, "Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945)"
Salina Journal (Feb. 18, 1973); Ellsworth County Independent/Reporter (Oct. 17, 2007); Kansas! (2nd issue, 1977).
This and over 1,750 other biographies can be found in Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945) compiled by Susan V. Craig, Art & Architecture Librarian at University of Kansas.

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