Artwork Information

  • Title:

    Houses in New Mexico

  • Artist:

    Nordfeldt, B.J.O.

  • Artist Bio:

    American (born in Sweden), 1878–1955

  • Date:

    about 1930s

  • Medium:

    Oil on canvas

  • Dimensions:

    30 1/4 x 40 1/4 inches

  • Credit Line:

    Wichita Art Museum, Edmund L. and Faye Davison Collection

  • Object Number:


  • Display:

    Not Currently on Display

About the Artwork

Nordfeldt, a native of Sweden, immigrated to Chicago in 1891 where he worked as a typesetter and compositor for the city’s Swedish language newspaper. While studying at the Art Institute of Chicago, he was chosen to assist the painter Albert Herter with a mural commission from the McCormick Harvester Company. The firm later sent Nordfeldt to Paris to supervise the showing of the mural at the Paris Exposition. He remained in Paris for a year, trying out academic training and then giving it up to work independently. He was impressed by the imagery of Édouard Manet, Paul Gauguin and Paul Cézanne. From Paris he went to England where he studied woodblock cutting and etching with a master printer. Back in Chicago Nordfeldt earned international recognition, especially for his etchings.

Nordfeldt went on a sight-seeing excursion to Santa Fe on his way home from San Francisco where he had been working as a camouflage artist in the Navy. He liked the area so much that he and his wife moved there to live for two decades. During that period, he painted portraits of Spanish-Americans and Indian, still-life images featuring Santos and the Southwestern landscapes. Nordfeldt, who was particularly sensitive to the parallels between Indian art and modernism, did much through his work and his teaching to heighten awareness of modern design concepts.