No one is playing ‘second fiddle’ to Nicholas Chevalier

It may have been 112 years ago since the artist Nicholas Chevalier died in London on 15 March, 1902, but the love of his work continues to admire and aspire many. Born in St. Petersburg, Russia on 9 May, 1828, he became an early ‘citizen of the world’ living, studying, working and visiting Lausanne, Munich, London, Rome, Melbourne, New Zealand, Tahiti, Hawaii, Japan, China, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and India.

nicholas chevalier

From 1851, he worked variously as  an illustrator in lithography and water-colour; exhibited at the Royal Academy in London, and in August 1855 obtained work as a cartoonist on the newly established Melbourne Punch magazine. Later he did illustrative work for the Illustrated Australian News and also worked in chromo-lithography.

In 1864, when the National Gallery of Victoria was founded, an exhibition of works by Victorian artists was held. The government agreed to buy the best picture exhibited for £200. Chevalier’s oil painting The Buffalo Ranges was selected, and was the first picture painted in Australia to be included in the Melbourne collection.

In 1869 he joined the H.M.S. Galatea as an artist for the Duke of Edinburgh, on the voyage to the East and back to London. It was on the Galatea that another hidden talent emerged. It would appear that Chevalier became the  second violinist for the Royal Amateur Orchestral Society, which had been started by the sea-faring Officers.

If it is the artwork, more than the ‘string-work’ you would like to explore, then I will no longer ‘string you along’ and allow you to consider viewing examples of Chevalier’s artwork in various galleries around the world including the;

  • Museum of New Zealand = Te Papa Tongarewa (Wellington)
  • Dunedin Public Art Gallery (New Zealand),
  • Honolulu Museum of Art (Hawaii),
  • National Gallery of Victoria (Australia),
  • Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, (Victoria, Australia)
  • Art Gallery of New South Wales (Australia); and the
  • National Library of Australia (Canberra).

The image featured above is entitled “South Sea Beauty” provided courtesy of the Bridgman Art Library, London. For further examples of artists covered here, see my A-Z Artist page.

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