Bear Totem

Don Nice (b. 1932)
Date: 1984
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 74 3/4 H x 57 W

Signed, lower right: Nice 84

Credit: Albany Institute of History & Art Purchase
Accession Number: 1991.62

Don Nice brings a contemporary vision to the American landscape tradition in his ongoing Hudson River series, of which this is a part. The river, seen at the top center, he has called "our Parthenon, our Chartres. We must do everything we can—not just to save it, but to see it." He is among the best-known and most highly regarded contemporary artists to use the Hudson River landscape as a primary subject. Images shown here juxtapose nature and manufactured products. Many of them—the river landscape, the bear, robin, squirrel, oranges, and still-life objects—appear in varying combinations in other paintings in this series. Nice started as an abstract painter, and brings a unique twist to his style of realism by showing real objects but showing them as emblems rather than real things. For example, there are no shadows, no action, no sense of time.