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December 16 -
March 2, 2018
Postwar and Contemporary Art

Bror Julius Olsson (B.J.O) Nordfeldt

(b. 1878 Tullstrop (now Malmohus), Sweden d. 1955 Henderson, TX)

Nordfeldt was born Bror Julius Olsson in 1878 in Tullstrop, Skane in the south of Sweden. He later took his mother’s maiden name, Nordfeldt, to avoid being confused with another painter (Julius Olsson) who had become well-known in Europe and America. Nordfeldt and his family immigrated to Chicago in 1891. Eventually he studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and was sponsored to go to Paris by a encouraging professor.

While in Paris, he studied briefly at the Académie Julien. After less than a year, Nordfeldt left France and went to England to learn wood-block printing in the Japanese manner. Despite the difficulties involved, through the skilled use of his hands and an innate sensitivity to such a process, Nordfeldt produced some splendid prints for which he received worldwide critical acclaim.

In 1919, Nordfeldt decided to take a one week trip to Santa Fe, already a thriving artists’ colony. Attracted to the crisp light, bold colors and magical landscapes, Nordfeldt remained in New Mexico for the next eighteen years. Although Nordfeldt won considerable recognition through the years from critics and museum directors, his pictures were never popular with the public. Some years in Santa Fe, Nordfeldt did not sell a single painting.

Unlike many artists, Nordfeldt continued to grow in inventiveness as he progressed in years. He made of physical reality, paintings that were classically ordered and often beautifully poetic. Even after he reached seventy-five, his indomitable spirit and active creative imagination continued to produce work of the highest level, until the time of his death in 1955.


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