Bror Julius Olsson Nordfeldt was born in Tullstorp, Scane (now Malmohus), Sweden. At the age of thirteen he immigrated with his family to Chicago where he studied at the Art Institute beginning in 1899. After a year, his instructor, Albert Herter (1871‑1950) chose Nordfeldt to assist him on a major mural project to be shown at the Paris Exposition in 1900.
The sponsors of the mural, McCormick Harvester Company, financed his trip to Paris to view the installation. While in Paris, Nordfeldt had a painting accepted to the Salon des Artistes Francais. He traveled from Paris to London where he studied painting and woodblock techniques under Frank Morley Fletcher (1866‑1949), followed by a year in Sweden.
Upon his return to Chicago in 1903, Nordfeldt set up a studio and began producing prints and paintings for his livelihood. In 1906 he won the silver medal at the International Print Exhibition in Milan, Italy, and it was his prints that provided his main source of income until he gave it up to paint exclusively in 1926. In 1910 Nordfeldt married Dr. Margaret Doolittle in Tangier, Morocco. From 1911 to 1913 he concentrated on portrait commissions; most notable from this period are his likenesses of the social theorist, Thorstein Veblen, the art dealer who represented Nordfeldt, Alice Roullier, and the Chicago Little Theater director, Maurice Browne. He was greatly influenced by Gaugin, Cezanne and the Fauvist style of strong, bold coloration.
In 1944 he divorced his estranged wife and married Emily Abbott. From 1937 to 1955 they lived on a ninety‑acre farm near Lambertville, New Jersey. Nordfeldt died of a heart attack in Henderson, Texas on a return trip from Mexico.
Nordfeldt was a member of the Taos School of Painters, the New Mexico School of Painters, the Chicago Society of Etchers, and the Society of American Etchers. He exhibited at the Panama‑Pacific Exposition in San Francisco in 1915, the Sesqui‑Centennial Exposition in 1926, the Denver Art Museum in 1936, and the Art Institute of Chicago in 1926. His work is included in numerous collections in this country and abroad such as the Toledo (Ohio) Art Museum, the Bibliotheque des Arts et Archeologie in Paris, the Christiania Museum in Norway, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and the New York Public Library. The standard references on Nordfeldt are Van Deren Coke's Nordfeldt the Painter (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1972) and B. J. O. Nordfeldt: An American Expressionist (Pipersville, Pennsylvania: Richard Stuart Gallery, 1984).
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