Charles A. Nicolai, (C.A. Nicolai) is part of Indiana art history royalty. In William Gerdts' colossal book edition, "Art Across America," Gerdts' chapter on Indiana discusses Nicolai. Gerdts points out that Nicolai was part of the Brown County art group, the last living member of the Bohemian Club (Bohe Club) and was a member of the prestigious Portfolio Club that was instrumental in bring modern art lectures to Indianapolis. Beyond this famous publication, Nicolai was listed in the 1925 edition of Who is Who in American Art and now resides in Who Was Who in American Art.
Nicolai was attracted to the Barbizon ideals of the rural landscape that were so popular in France. Many saw it as the rejection of industrialization that was taking place in the second half of the 19th Century. So Nicolai joined the famed Theodore Clement Steele in Brown County for its rural primitive terrain as well as the companionship of two other Indiana artists, William Forsyth and Fred Hetherington. Near Belmont and Nashville, Nicolai recorded the rugged, yet scenic landscape. Brown County in the early 1900's became the Midwest's summer art colony.