B. J. O. Nordfeldt
B.J.O. Nordfeldt's artistic goal was a balance between nature and artistic experience. He was never interested in emulating nature but always used it as his source. His nature-rooted expressionism caused him to become a complex and engaging figure in U.S. art during the volatile period between the wars when the U.S. was a battlefield of clashing styles and esthetic viewpoints.
Born in Sweden in 1878, Nordfeldt emigrated to the United States at the age of 13. He spent one year at the Art Institute of Chicago but then moved to Paris, where he attended the Académie Julian. Several years later he returned to Chicago and later moved to Massachusetts and then to New York.
In 1919 Nordfeldt discovered the dramatic nature of the Southwest and took up residence in Santa Fe. He remained here intermittently for 20 years because he was drawn to Santa Fe's primitive simplicity and unspoiled, dramatic landscape.
Throughout his artistic career of 60 years, he traveled to Europe on and off, providing himself with the opportunity to be in contact with the best in European modernism. These artistic encounters caused him to experiment, to seek out new challenges and ultimately to define himself in modernist terms. However, Nordfeldt felt little attraction toward contemporary European innovative trends but became involved in the American renewed interest in realism and regionalism He was drawn to reexamine native roots and to return to simpler things.
Nordfeldt often painted from a sketch or from memory alone, free to interpret his notations without being bound to a concrete model or landscape. This caused him dramatically to simplify forms. Because he believed that painting could convey the grandeur and mystery of nature, he felt it necessary to integrate expression and form. In fact, his work is the embodiment of the struggle between expressive freedom and artistic order.
Nordfeldt taught at several institutions throughout his life including Utah State College, the Minnesota School of Art, the Wichita Art Association and the University of Texas. He lived his final years in Lambertville, New York, where he died in 1955.
Actively seeking works by B. J. O. Nordfelt.