Nicolai Ivanovich Fechin (November 26, 1881 – October 5, 1955)
Nicolai Ivanovich Fechin was a Russian-American artist who is known for his paintings, drawings and sculptures. Born in Kazan, Russia his father was a wood carver and gilder. As the son of an artist, Nicolai began studying art at an early age, first at the Kazan Art School and later at the Imperial Academy of Art. He won the “Prix de Rome” in 1909 and a gold medal at the annual International Exhibition in Munich the following year. Nicolai created many masterpieces during this time and became recognized not only in Russia and Europe, but also in the United States.
In 1923, Nicolai immigrated to the U.S. and lived in New York. Due to health issues, he moved to Taos, New Mexico in 1927 where his subject matter included Native Americans. His drawings and paintings were most impressive during this time and his work was compared to the Old Masters. Six years later, Nicolai and his wife divorced and he subsequently settled in Southern California. He maintained a studio where he continued to sculpt, draw and paint. He also taught an art class on Saturdays to a small group of students that included Joseph Nordmann, Albert Londraville and Hal Reed. He died unexpectedly in his sleep on October 5, 1955. Nicolai Fechin’s prior home in Taos, New Mexico became the Taos Art Museum and is a tribute to his life and art.
Nicolai Fechin’s art has significantly increased in value following his death and in 2008, four paintings each sold at auction in the range of $872,500 – $993,000. In December 2010, one of his paintings (“The Little Cowboy”) sold at auction for $10,817,000.