Nicolai Fechin

1881 – 1955



Kazan, Russia


Portrait, figure and genre painting, wood carving


N Fenchin, Nikolai Ivanovich Feshin

Born in Kazan, Russia, Fechin’s early art training came from his father who was a wood and metal craftsman. At age 13 he received a scholarship to the Kazan Art School and at age 19 entered the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts in St Petersburg where he was greatly influenced by Ilya Repin.

After graduating in 1909, he taught at the Kazan Art School. Fechin later immigrated to America with his wife and baby daughter in 1923. He struggled in New York City doing portraits and teaching until his work was discovered by local galleries.

Sick with tuberculosis, he moved to Taos, New Mexico in 1926. While there, he did his finest work and became nationally known as a painter of Indians, Mexicans, and cowboys. Fechin was a superb technician who often used a palette knife to apply his oils. His bold, dramatic, and brilliantly colored canvases rank him among the giants in American art.