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Nicolai Fechin

Nicolai Fechin

Russian (active in the United States), 1881 - 1955

Nicolai Fechin (1881-1955) developed his art from the dual influences of his native Russian and immigrant American experiences. Fechin (generally accepted pronunciation: fay SHIN) was born in Kazan, Russia, in 1881. He received his early encouragement from his father, a wood carver and metal worker. Fechin studied at the Kazan Art School, then the rigorous Imperial Art Academy in St. Petersburg. He traveled to view art, including the works of the French Impressionists and the German Expressionists. The artist returned to Kazan to teach. Fechin married Alexandra Belkovich in 1913, and the following year their daughter Eya was born. Several years after the Russian revolution, the Fechins immigrated to the United States in 1923.

Searching for a healthy climate, Fechin and family visited Taos, New Mexico in 1926. Fechin found inspiring subjects in the people and landscape of New Mexico and the family moved there the following year. After a divorce from Alexandra, Nicolai left Taos in 1933. He undertook several important trips to locales such as Mexico and Bali and settled in southern California. He taught art and continued to paint until his death in Santa Monica, California in 1955.