Born in the village of Kamyshlovskoye in the Tobolsk province in 1878. Died in Moscow in 1945.When his family moved to Altai territory, the young Nikulin began to study at the Barnaul Regional School of Mines. Several years later, thanks to money collected by the people of Barnaul, he went to St. Petersburg where he studied from 1898 to 1903 at the Central Technical Design School of Baron Schtiglitz, in the theatrical décor department. After he graduated as one of the best students, Nikulin went on a professional trip abroad. The two years spent in Europe were devoted to traveling and studying at the Julian Academy in Paris. His works of that period were influenced by the plein air paintings of the Impressionists. In 1906, he returned to Barnaul for a time, but then departed for Saratovo where he began teaching at the Bogoliubov School of Graphic Art. At the end of the 1900s, exhibitions of Nikulin’s works were held in Barnaul and Saratov, and in 1931 he participated in the international exhibition in Munich. During 1918–1923, Nikulin lived in Barnaul, and actively participated in the artistic life of the city. The artist spent his final years in the city of Moscow, and worked at Mosfilm Studios.

Altai, Thunderstorm on a Lake - 1910, oil on canvas. State Art Museum of Altayskiy Region
The Blue Altai (Altaian Glaciers) - 1910, oil on canvas. State Art Museum of Altayskiy Region
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