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The Art of JAMA
May 17, 2016

Covered Wagon: Bror Julius Olsson Nordfeldt

JAMA. 2016;315(19):2048-2049. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.14268

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.

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).