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Covered Wagon: Bror Julius Olsson Nordfeldt

Covered Wagon: Bror Julius Olsson Nordfeldt In the bright vignettes of American life and landscape found in examples of earlier work by Bror Julius Olsson Nordfeldt (1878-1955), upbeat colors and assertive shapes animated his compositions. His paintings were centered in feelings generated by a scene, and he expressively conveyed the individuals and objects in modernist terms. Bror Julius Olsson Nordfeldt (1878-1955), Covered Wagon, circa 1920, American. Oil on canvas. 72.1 × 79.5 cm. Courtesy of the Phoenix Art Museum (http://www.phxart.org/), Phoenix, Arizona; museum purchase with anonymous funds, 1983.124. Nordfeldt was born in the southern part of Sweden as Bror Julius Olsson, moving with his family to Chicago in 1891. He found work after school with a newspaper published in Swedish, and given his aptitude for drawing he subsequently attended the Art Institute of Chicago, enrolling in 1899. He had the opportunity of assisting a teacher on a mural commission from the Illinois-based McCormick manufacturer of farming equipment for exhibit at the 1900 Paris Exposition. The company sponsored Nordfeldt in traveling to Paris, where he briefly attended the Académie Julien, and he achieved acceptance of his work for exhibition at the Salon des Artistes Français. Nordfeldt’s developing artistic approach came to include a sense of density and simplification of shape, perhaps in part influenced by the work of Paul Cézanne. He next headed to England to receive training in woodblock printing at the Oxford Extension College at Reading (Coke VD. Nordfeldt the Painter. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press; 1972:1-149). After a sojourn in Sweden involving artistic endeavors, in 1903 he traveled home to Chicago where he began using Nordfeldt as his surname, his mother’s maiden name, so as not to be mistaken for the artist Albert Julius Olsson. There he created paintings, etchings, and prints. In conjunction with providing illustrations for periodicals, he traveled in Europe and North Africa and was married in Tangier in 1909. After his return to the United States in 1910, his pigments were said to have become more brilliant, perhaps reflecting his exposure to Expressionist and Fauvist movements (both characterized by vibrant color) during his travels (http://americanart.si.edu/collections/search/artist/?id=3568; Coke, p 35). While in Chicago he produced city scenes and participated in exhibitions. In leaving Chicago to travel back to Europe in 1913, he stopped in New York to attend the Armory Show, which included modern art, an experience that further informed his modernist leanings. Nordfeldt’s travel in Europe was abbreviated as countries slipped into World War I, resulting in his involvement in devising camouflage for ships that included service in San Francisco, where he was designated as assistant district camoufleur for the United States Shipping Board. An example of strategies that could be used to confound the enemy involved “dazzle” markings painted on marine craft (The Art of JAMA, April 9, 2014). Postwar, as he headed back east, in passing through New Mexico and taking in the beauty of the scenery, he decided to establish residence in Santa Fe. In New Mexico, Nordfeldt pursued artistic concerns of aestheticism in his portrayal of the peoples of the region, and he reveled in the colors and structures of his surrounds. However, a number of his works were thematically religious (Coke, pp 53-61, 79). His palette could include shades of green and hints of summery tones, both evident in Covered Wagon, in which a couple is seen traveling in a conveyance shielded from weather by a canopy as they pass through reddish-pink hills of ember-like glow. The driver and his companion seem lost in thought but of peaceful mien. With the nuance of subtle emotion in which the couple is cast, their humanity shines through. One may imagine that they are going about their activities of routine life, perhaps en route to the market to procure provisions or bound for other errands. Nordfeldt traveled to nearby Utah in the early 1930s to teach at the then–Utah State Agricultural College, and teaching opportunities in other states followed. His interest in the Southwest eventually declined, and in 1937 he traveled to Lambertville, New Jersey, which he made his home. As a business strategy, he established an arrangement for selling his work in New York. On a personal front, in 1944, after his first marriage had been dissolved, he wed again. As he approached his late 60s, Nordfeldt experienced a renaissance in his work. He had transitioned to new genres that included objects in nature rendered in more abstractive style that provided a global, poetical sense of the natural world (Hunter S. B. J. O. Nordfeldt: An American Expressionist. Pipersville, PA: Richard Stuart Gallery; 1984:1-96; Coke, pp 111, 125). The sea was also a subject of interest and industry for him, resulting in a number of works. In an ongoing spirit of inquiry, Nordfeldt investigated an array of artistic approaches throughout his life, evolving his own motifs for depiction of emotion. His work is meaningful in part because seemingly above all other considerations, he painted what moved him. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png JAMA American Medical Association

Covered Wagon: Bror Julius Olsson Nordfeldt

JAMA , Volume 315 (19) – May 17, 2016

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Publisher
American Medical Association
Copyright
Copyright © 2016 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved.
ISSN
0098-7484
eISSN
1538-3598
DOI
10.1001/jama.2015.14268
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In the bright vignettes of American life and landscape found in examples of earlier work by Bror Julius Olsson Nordfeldt (1878-1955), upbeat colors and assertive shapes animated his compositions. His paintings were centered in feelings generated by a scene, and he expressively conveyed the individuals and objects in modernist terms. Bror Julius Olsson Nordfeldt (1878-1955), Covered Wagon, circa 1920, American. Oil on canvas. 72.1 × 79.5 cm. Courtesy of the Phoenix Art Museum (http://www.phxart.org/), Phoenix, Arizona; museum purchase with anonymous funds, 1983.124. Nordfeldt was born in the southern part of Sweden as Bror Julius Olsson, moving with his family to Chicago in 1891. He found work after school with a newspaper published in Swedish, and given his aptitude for drawing he subsequently attended the Art Institute of Chicago, enrolling in 1899. He had the opportunity of assisting a teacher on a mural commission from the Illinois-based McCormick manufacturer of farming equipment for exhibit at the 1900 Paris Exposition. The company sponsored Nordfeldt in traveling to Paris, where he briefly attended the Académie Julien, and he achieved acceptance of his work for exhibition at the Salon des Artistes Français. Nordfeldt’s developing artistic approach came to include a sense of density and simplification of shape, perhaps in part influenced by the work of Paul Cézanne. He next headed to England to receive training in woodblock printing at the Oxford Extension College at Reading (Coke VD. Nordfeldt the Painter. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press; 1972:1-149). After a sojourn in Sweden involving artistic endeavors, in 1903 he traveled home to Chicago where he began using Nordfeldt as his surname, his mother’s maiden name, so as not to be mistaken for the artist Albert Julius Olsson. There he created paintings, etchings, and prints. In conjunction with providing illustrations for periodicals, he traveled in Europe and North Africa and was married in Tangier in 1909. After his return to the United States in 1910, his pigments were said to have become more brilliant, perhaps reflecting his exposure to Expressionist and Fauvist movements (both characterized by vibrant color) during his travels (http://americanart.si.edu/collections/search/artist/?id=3568; Coke, p 35). While in Chicago he produced city scenes and participated in exhibitions. In leaving Chicago to travel back to Europe in 1913, he stopped in New York to attend the Armory Show, which included modern art, an experience that further informed his modernist leanings. Nordfeldt’s travel in Europe was abbreviated as countries slipped into World War I, resulting in his involvement in devising camouflage for ships that included service in San Francisco, where he was designated as assistant district camoufleur for the United States Shipping Board. An example of strategies that could be used to confound the enemy involved “dazzle” markings painted on marine craft (The Art of JAMA, April 9, 2014). Postwar, as he headed back east, in passing through New Mexico and taking in the beauty of the scenery, he decided to establish residence in Santa Fe. In New Mexico, Nordfeldt pursued artistic concerns of aestheticism in his portrayal of the peoples of the region, and he reveled in the colors and structures of his surrounds. However, a number of his works were thematically religious (Coke, pp 53-61, 79). His palette could include shades of green and hints of summery tones, both evident in Covered Wagon, in which a couple is seen traveling in a conveyance shielded from weather by a canopy as they pass through reddish-pink hills of ember-like glow. The driver and his companion seem lost in thought but of peaceful mien. With the nuance of subtle emotion in which the couple is cast, their humanity shines through. One may imagine that they are going about their activities of routine life, perhaps en route to the market to procure provisions or bound for other errands. Nordfeldt traveled to nearby Utah in the early 1930s to teach at the then–Utah State Agricultural College, and teaching opportunities in other states followed. His interest in the Southwest eventually declined, and in 1937 he traveled to Lambertville, New Jersey, which he made his home. As a business strategy, he established an arrangement for selling his work in New York. On a personal front, in 1944, after his first marriage had been dissolved, he wed again. As he approached his late 60s, Nordfeldt experienced a renaissance in his work. He had transitioned to new genres that included objects in nature rendered in more abstractive style that provided a global, poetical sense of the natural world (Hunter S. B. J. O. Nordfeldt: An American Expressionist. Pipersville, PA: Richard Stuart Gallery; 1984:1-96; Coke, pp 111, 125). The sea was also a subject of interest and industry for him, resulting in a number of works. In an ongoing spirit of inquiry, Nordfeldt investigated an array of artistic approaches throughout his life, evolving his own motifs for depiction of emotion. His work is meaningful in part because seemingly above all other considerations, he painted what moved him.

Journal

JAMAAmerican Medical Association

Published: May 17, 2016

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