Carl John David Nordell

(American, 1885-1957)

Carl Nordell was born in Copenhagen Denmark in 1885 to a Swedish father and a Finnish mother. When he was about six they immigrated to the US and settled in Westerly RI. In the fall of 1902 he entered the Rhode Island School of Design as a scholarship student. He subsequently attended the New York Art Students League; the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, under Edmund Tarbell); and spent two years in Europe under a Paige Traveling Scholarship. He traveled extensively in Europe but maintained a base in Paris where for a time he was a student at the Académie Julian. He married Emma Alice “Polly” Parker—an accomplished fellow artist who is known to have traveled with Nordell in Europe—in 1912. Following his return to the US, Nordell opened a studio in Boston from which he executed portrait commissions of a great many prominent sitters. He summered in Gloucester MA, being a member of the North Shore Arts Association. He was also a member of the New York Art Students League; the Salmagundi Club of New York; the Boston Art Club; the Providence Art Club; among others. At some point c. 1927, Nordell moved to Oakdale NY (sans wife) thereafter traveling in Upstate NY, and spending summers especially at Chautauqua Lake. In 1947, he and his second wife, Helen Eddy Nordell moved to California where they spent the next 10 years, primarily working at a Los Angeles hospital using creative arts as occupational therapy.