May Day is a beautiful example by the artist which he proudly exhibited in the Winter Exhibition of the National Academy of Design in 1927. It is the epitome of spring, highlighting the warmth and regrowth anticipated throughout the cold winter months. White blooms cover the trees in the foreground, reminiscent of cherry blossoms, while green foliage emerges in the background, and the rolling landscape is covered in bright, verdant grass. A house tucked behind the rise peeks through the trees, drawing the eye toward the valley and atmospheric blue hills in the distance.
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Nichols was an active member of the mid-Atlantic arts community, exhibiting with the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, with the Corcoran Gallery biennials in Washington, DC, and also took part in exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago. Of particular note is his deep involvement with the National Academy of Design, where he exhibited between 1902 and 1949, won awards in 1923, 1925, and 1934, and also regularly sat as a juror from 1914 until 1950. He was elected an Associate of the National Academy in 1912, attained full Academician status in 1920, and served as President of the Academy from 1939 until 1949, and President Emeritus until his passing in 1962. In addition to these organizations, Nichols was a member of the Society of Washington Artists, served as director of the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation from 1939 to 1959, and was Assistant Director of the U. S. Art Commission at the Paris Exposition in 1900.
Today his works can be found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Gallery of Art, the National Academy of Design Museum, and the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC.
To Knoke Fine Arts, Marietta, Georgia, until 2013
To private collection, Simpsonville, South Carolina, October 2013 to present
- (on left stretcher in black) MAY – DAY – H. NICHOLS
- (on left side of frame in black) H. NICHOLS
- GRAND CENTRAL ART GALLERIES / 15 VANDERBILT AVENUE / NEW YORK, N.Y. NO. 4–(torn) / Artist: HOBART NICHOLS / Title: “MAY DAY” / $1500. / (rest of label is missing)
- NATIONAL ACADEMY OF DESIGN (rest is torn)
- Knoke Fine Arts, Marietta, Georgia / Henry Hobart Nichols, NA / American 1879 – 1962 / “May Day” / Oil on canvas 38” x 43” / Signed Lower Right / Original Academy of Design label verso, exhibited 1927 / Original Grand Central Galleries, NY title label verso / Member: The National Academy of Design, 1920, / President 1939 – 1949, President Emeritus from 1949
- Winter Exhibition, National Academy of Design, New York, November 29 – December 18, 1927, No. 287
- New Britain Institute (now the New Britain Museum of American Art), New Britain, Connecticut, January 10 – January 25, 1928
- Grand Central Art Galleries, New York (unknown date)