Three Travelers Crossing a Bridge in the Snow

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Bror Julius Olsson NORDFELDT (American 1878 – 1955),Three Travelers Crossing a Bridge in the Snow, color woodcut on laid Japan paper, 1906, signed, dated and inscribed (No. 13) in pencil lower right. Reference: Donovan 9. In very good condition, with the usual thread margins, 8 1/8 x 10 3/8 inches.

A fine fresh impression, with excellent contrasts; the blacks and greys are particularly dark, as is the blue of the stream.

In the few other impressions of this composition we’ve seen, the colors tend to be more pale, thus muting the contrasts; in this impression Nordfeldt opted for a stronger color palette which heightens the excitement inherent in the composition.

Nordfeldt often numbered his prints, but these numbers represent the total number of prints he printed in a particular period, not the numbering for a specific print. Indeed, his prints appear to have not been editioned, and so impressions are rare.

Bror Julius Olsson Nordfeldt was born in Sweden, moving at the age of 14 with his family to the United States, settling in Chicago. In 1896 he began studies at the Art Institute of Chicago while working as a typesetter on the Swedish newspaper, “Hemlandet”. At the Art Institute, he studied with Frederick Richardson and John H. Vanderpool. Nordfeldt traveled to Paris in 1900 to study at the Académie Julian and in 1901 he studied woodblock printing in Oxford, England with F. Morley Fletcher. He returned to Sweden to live and work in Jonstorp, a village on the Western coast.  After 1903 Nordfeldt lived in Chicago, then in Paris, San Francisco during WWI (where he supervised the camouflaging of merchant ships!), then Santa Fe and a host of other U.S. locations ending up in scenic Lambertville, New Jersey where he died in 1955.   Three Travelers Crossing a Bridge in the Snow was created in one of the most fertile periods of Nordfeldt’s career, when under the strong influence of both modernism and Japonisme. 

[the photo above shows a darkening toward the right; the fault here is ours, not the print]