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 Emrich Nicholson  (1913 - 2001)

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Lived/Active: California/Hawaii/Indiana      Known for: seascape, still life, set design

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Still Life with Calla Lillies and Lemons
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Shelburn, IN on Sept. 4, 1913. Nicholson moved to southern California at an early age. After graduating from Ventura High School, he studied at Chouinard Art School and Yale School of Fine Arts. During the 1930s and 1940s he was art director of more than 100 films for Paramont and Universal Studios. He died in Kamuela, HI on Feb. 25, 2001. Exh: Calif. Statewide (Santa Cruz), 1931-33; Oakland Art Gallery, 1933; Hatfield Gallery (LA), 1946; Mt Washington Arts Festival (LA), 1951. Murals: Vacaville (CA) Post Office; Matson Lines (Lurline and Matsonia).
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Who's Who in American Art 1940; Social Security Death Index (1940-2002).
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 Isaacs Art Center at Hawaii Preparatory Academy:
Emrich Nicholson, Creator of "Enforta Glass", was born in Shelburn, Indiana. Dorothy Breese, sister of the artist, wrote: "Our mother recognized his talent and moved mountains to encourage it.
I cannot remember there ever being time or opportunity for laziness or loafing. The work ethic was strong in Emrich."

At age 12, Nicholson won the blue ribbon at the county fair for his first oil painting. This was just the beginning for the future designer, artist, and author.

He went on to attend the Chouinard Art School for two years on scholarship and won another scholarship to Yale University, where he graduated with a degree in fine arts in 1936.

He began his career as a textile designer for Pacific Mills in New York City and was named head designer in the office of Otto Kuhler, creator of streamlined railroad equipment. There, Nicholson created interior designs for the Baltimore and Ohio streamlined trains and busses and other transportation equipment.

In 1938, Nicholson was selected to design rugs, glass doors, souvenir books and pennants for the 1939 New York World's Fair, earning recognition from New York's Museum of Modern Art. His work also was featured in "Vogue", the "New Yorker", and "Time" magazines.

He married his high school sweetheart, Amy Aplin, in 1940, which proved to be an auspicious year for him. That year, in association with D.P. Maier, Nicholson designed a home in Ojai, California that was featured in the Architectural Forum. He was named by the Architecture League of America as one of its Top 40 Designers Under 40, and he painted the winning mural for the U.S. Treasury Department, which was displayed in the Vacaville Post Office in California.

In 1941, Nicholson began experimenting and researching a new art form that he coined "Enforta Glass", an original process created through the fusion of the art of painting and the art of glass making.

The Dalzell Hatfield Galleries in Los Angeles, California, included Nicholson's Enforta Glass in its Christmas Gift Exhibition in 1946 and noted, "The adaptability of the process makes Enforta Glass‚ an event in the field of decorative art. It can be used for screens, table tops, console tops, and for entire rooms, for panels in cafes, in the salons of ocean liners and in many other ways."

After spending World War II mapping flights over Europe and designing furniture for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Nicholson went to Hollywood as a studio art director for Paramount and Universal Studios. He earned an Academy Award nomination for his work in the 1948 film "One Touch of Venus." His other films of note in the 1950‚s were "Magnificent Obsession", "Sign of the Pagan", and "Battle Hymn".

He also authored "Contemporary Shops in the United States", a comprehensive survey of modern shops in America. The book was enthusiastically received in the United States and abroad.

He joined Leo Burnett Company, a major advertising agency, as West Coast Art Director in 1955, when television was evolving from black-and-white broadcasts to color. There, he helped create television commercials for United Airlines, Kellogg's, Gallo Wines, and other accounts.

Nicholson retired in 1965 and moved to Hawaii where he focused on oil painting. His vibrant images of flowers and Hawaii landscapes received wide recognition throughout the state.

"Emrich was never any one but himself ˆ no pretense, no dishonesty, no game playing" writes Breese. "There was so much honesty as well as humor in this man. True, he was an elitist, characteristic of the mid-20th century artists who held to essential principles; thus he had low tolerance for anything less. He was never concerned about popularity."

Written by, Bernard Nogues, Isaccs Art Center

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