New Mexico Art Tells its History

A Navajo Camp

A Navajo Camp, n.d.
B. J. O. Nordfeldt (American, born Sweden, 1878 - 1955)
etching, 8 x 11 3/4 in. (20.3 x 29.8 cm)
Gift of Emily Abbott Nordfeldt, 1957
618.23G

Bror Julius Olsson (B.J.O.) Nordfeldt, born in Sweden, immigrated to the United States in 1891 with his family. He enrolled at the Art Institute of Chicago at twenty while simultaneously working as a printer’s devil for a local Swedish newspaper. While travelling in France, he studied at the Academie Julian, and went to England where he learned etching and woodblock cutting. Upon his return to Chicago, he set up his own studio in 1903, relocating to New York in 1907. After WWI, Nordfeldt visited his friend and fellow artist William Penhallow Henderson in Santa Fe and made the decision to move to the Southwest, where he eventually settled for the next twenty years. His treatment of Indians was startling to many as he showed them with stylistic distortion and abstraction, conveying an air of mystery that invited viewers to regard them as real human beings and not just interesting ethnic figures. Norfeldt was one of the founding members of the Indian Artists Fund, an organization dedicated to preserving the heritage of the Pueblo tribes.

 

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