George Nick

George Nick
Contemporary realist painter George Nick is highly regarded by his peers, by students who encountered him in his 25 years of teaching at Massachusetts College of Art, where he is now Professor Emeritus, by literary luminaries like John Updike, who wrote an essay In Praise of George Nick, and by major museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Hirschorn Museum, the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, which have his works in their collections.

Nick applies brusque, textural brushwork to an unapologetically direct depiction of his subjects, whether architectural aspects of Boston, rural landscapes, Venetian canals, simple room interiors or unstintingly honest portraits and self portraits.

I think reviewer John Goodrich gets what I like most about Nick’s work when he describes a “…spirited approach — call it an Impressionist’s love of light, delivered with Expressionistic panache…“.

Nick has a fascination with geometric patterns in both the forms of his subjects and in the areas of light and shadow within and around them, and his energetic application of paint brings that forward in addition to adding its own dimension of textural visual pleasure.

He can be in turns more or less refined, seeming over the course of his career to be experimenting, restless but always observant. He likes to work onsite, even with large canvasses, and conveys that plein air immediacy in his interiors as well as his landscapes and cityscapes.

Nick is represented in Boston by Gallery Naga. There are a few other sources for his work online, mostly articles, some illustrated with his work, including a six part interview on Painting Perceptions. There is also an informative essay by Nick’s former student Christopher Chippendale, Enroute with George Nick.

The largest reproductions of his canvasses I’ve found are the two in the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

The most extensive collection of his work online, however, is a terrific site at This is an unofficial site assembled and maintained out of respect and admiration by one of Nick’s former students, Larry Groff.

[Via Mike Manley]

6 Replies to “George Nick”

  1. Lush paint, beautiful strokes, and light glorious light ! My idea of heaven !
    The finished works generally look so loose and painterly that it was a surprise ( to me , anyway, as a non-painter ) to see the underlying detailed perspective drawing George Nick was working on in the photo in the Boston Zest article.

  2. Nick came and visited at PAFA two years ago, invited by Scott Noel. I even taped him talking on my Iphone. It was a great opportunity for the few dozen students who attended as Nick talked about his work and approach while giving a slide show. He even had a converted bread truck he used to drive around in and paint out of the back. There was a impish frankness and directness in his talk that was refreshing. This guy has painted a long time and while but he also still had a sense of humor.

    I wish I had my studio back then so he could have visited.

  3. Great post and selection of George’s paintings. If I’m not mistaken, the second painting down, the Boston Skyline seen from across part of a bay, is mural sized, a commissioned piece that he made in the studio, very unusual for him as he usually works on site. He had to have a whole new studio built onto his house in order to make this painting (I forget the exact size but something like 12 by 18 feet?)

    I agree with what Mike says and if there is chance to hear him speak, grab it. I have a podcast version of his interview with me on painting perceptions that you can listen to as well as read. thanks for this article and the links to my site.

    1. Thanks for the comments and information, Larry; and thanks for making Nick’s work available to us with the site. I’m still looking forward to seeing his work in person, and will certainly look for the opportunity to hear him speak.

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