B.J.O. Nordfeldt Green Woods, 1950
painting of a forest
B.J.O. Nordfeldt
Green Woods, 1950
Oil on canvas, 401/4 x 52 in.


Artists in the twentieth century simplified and abstracted forms found in nature. This forest landscape is created with simplified, angular tree forms using mostly cool green and blue tones. Two tree trunks frame the sides of the image, creating the effect of a canopy. Two more trunks lean against each other and block a direct pathway through the center of the deep woods. Triangles and cubelike shapes give the effect of rocks and filtered light through the treetops. The repeated vertical lines create a rhythm leading deep into the forest.


Nordfeldt was born in Sweden and immigrated to Chicago in 1891. As a youngster his artistic interests were encouraged and he went on to study in Chicago, and by 1900 in Paris and London. Nordfeldt was a master draftsman and became a well-known expert in Japanese woodblock printing. He lived and worked in the East, Southwest, and eventually, the Midwest of the United States. He did not gain great fame during his lifetime, but Nordfeldt is regarded as a significant modern American artist.


Abstract – a style of art that does not directly mimic the appearance of objects from the natural world, but instead is composed of simplified shapes, forms, or color to express ideas, experience, or emotion.