The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate,
MD, Senior Contributing Editor.
It could be said that the American Regionalist painter Dale Nichols
(1904-1995) is to Nebraska as Grant Wood is to Iowa or Thomas Hart Benton
is to Missouri and John Steuart Curry is to Kansas. All painted the midwest
countryside as they saw it during the 1930s. It was an art as rural as the
front-room parlor and as American as the patchwork quilt and the husking bee.
It was also accessible, an art as much at home on a kitchen calendar as on
a museum wall; even when satiric, it was nonoffending. But during the decade
of the 30s, the country also lay beneath the Great Depression; abroad, the
clouds of World War II were gathering. When war finally began in 1939, the
Regionalist art movement was over as abruptly as the turning of last month’s
calendar page. What once had looked homey suddenly looked provincial. What
once evoked nostalgia was now simply quaint or, worse, merely old. The future
was the new frontier; aspiring artists went east, to Chicago, to New York,
to Europe. They returned—or not—changed, bearing all kind of unfamiliar
names for what they did: Abstraction, Action, Color Field, Hard-edge. The
Regionalists disappeared, but fortunately their work did not. It survives
today in such iconic works as End of the Hunt (cover), painted in 1934 by Nichols and now in the permanent collection
of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Southgate MT. End of the Hunt. JAMA. 2004;292(20):2443. doi:10.1001/jama.292.20.2443