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Nordfeldt, Bror Julius OlssonDate of birth and death: 1878 - 1955 Uploaded artworks: 72
Bror Julius Olsson (B.J.O.) Nordfeldt was a Swedish-born, American artist. He is particularly well known for his seascapes and depictions of New Mexicoâ€™s indigenous culture. Known variously as a post-impressionist or American expressionist painter, B.J.O. Nordfeldt worked in diverse styles and media, including etchings and prints, portraiture, still-lifes, and landscapes. He chose subjects laden with emotional power, especially nature and religious scenes.
He was born in Tulstorg, Scania, Sweden. In 1891, the family emigrated to Chicago. He adopted his motherâ€™s surname after arriving in the U.S. Beginning in 1896, he studied at the Art Institute of Chicago while working as a typesetter on a Swedish newspaper, Hemlandet. He studied with both John H. Vanderpool and Frederick Richardson at the Art Institute. As a young man Nordfeldt sought creative ways to earn money from his art, illustrating magazines, painting camouflage for American ships during World War I, and, most importantly, producing prints and etchings. Nordfeldt invented a method of printing more than one color with a single impression.
When Nordfeldt moved to Santa Fe in 1919, his work reflected a dramatic change in subject matter and opened up a new period of experimentation for the artist. The most notable change for Nordfeldt was the incorporation of local cultural motifs, particularly from Native American pottery. The young Nordfeldt also painted portraits of eminent people. In his mid and late career, Nordfeldt turned to semi-abstract painting, developing a stripped-down style. Interested in conveying the symbolic or emotional core of his subject, its "idea-bones", Nordfeldt strove for a flattening of form and distortion of space, creating stylized images. He chose subjects laden with emotional power, especially nature and religious scenes. Nordfeldt's profound spirituality dominated his late work.
Nordfeldt exhibited in numerous museums and galleries and received many significant awards and prizes in the course of his career. His works are held in the Art Institute of Chicago, the New York Public Library, Museum of New Mexico, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Newberry Library, and the Hirshhorn Museum as well as many other venues. Biographical sketches for Nordfeld are published in most standard art reference works.His papers are held in the Manuscript Collections of the Archives of American Art.
Nordfeldt died on April 21, 1955 of a heart attack while returning from a trip to Mexico. A memorial exhibition was created by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which classified Nordfeldt as one of five major artists to have passed away between 1945 and 1955.
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