Born Russia in 1828, he was active in Australia between 1855 and 1869.
Nicholas Chevalier studied art and architecture in Lausanne, Munich, London and Rome before he was sent to Victoria in 1854 to attend to the family business – a gold-mining venture in Victoria.
Chevalier arrived in Melbourne in February 1855 and travelled to the Bendigo gold-fields. During this brief visit to the fields he completed a number of paintings and sketches which were engraved and printed by Frederick Grosse (1828–1894). By late 1855, Chevalier had returned to Melbourne where he was employed as an artist and cartoonist on the weekly journal ‘Melbourne Punch’. He remained in that position until 1861 and the following year was appointed as the official artist on a geological tour of Victoria, led by Professor George Neumayer.
In 1864, Chevalier’s ‘The Buffalo Ranges’ won the competition and prize of £200 awarded by the government to commemorate the founding of the National Gallery of Victoria. The painting was purchased by the Gallery in 1865 and was the first work by a colonial artist to enter the national collection. In 1869 Chevalier left Australia for England where he died in 1902.