Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Richard Nickel  

Pen Name: None

Genre: C:ADULT Non-Fiction Other

Born: 1928 in Chicago, Il


Illinois Connection

Richard was born and raised in the Humbolt Park area of Chicago, Il.

Biographical and Professional Information

During the urban regeneration of the 1960s and 1970s, scores of 19th century buildings in Chicago were being demolished. Among these were the works of Louis Sullivan and members of the Prairie School. By this time many of the buildings were neglected, with little public interest in their retention. Nickel encountered Sullivan's work while photographing the architect's buildings for a school project at the IIT Institute of Design in Chicago under Aaron Siskind. Studying and photographing Sullivan's buildings quickly became an obsession for him. Ultimately, he devoted much of his life to photographing them, hoping to produce a comprehensive photographic compendium.Nickel was killed on April 13, 1972, while attempting to obtain more items, when a portion of the Chicago Stock Exchange building collapsed on him. He is buried in Chicago's Graceland Cemetery, not very far from where Sullivan is buried. He was just 44 years old.In 2010 the archives of Richard Nickel were donated to the Art Institute of Chicago.

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