Giving a Good Impression: B.J.O. Nordfeldt’s Inscribed Etchings

B.J.O. Nordfeldt, Barge in the North Branch, Chicago (1912), etching on chain-laid paper, 10 3/4 x 15 1/2 inches. Permanent Collection of the Roswell Museum and Art Center, 1979.049.0005. Gift of James Swann, 1979.

Gift exchanges are among the most intimate ways that artists participate in print collecting. Personalized with the recipient’s name and other inscriptions, gifted pieces document friendships and professional camaraderie while providing insight into the social complexities of viewership. Three etchings presented by B. J. O. Nordfeldt (1878–1955) to fellow etcher Bertha E. Jaques (1863–1941), now part of the permanent collection of the Roswell Museum and Art Center in New Mexico, form an intriguing example. Embellished with notes and informal drawings, these impressions recall aesthetic trends associated with the Etching Revival while underscoring the often private nature of print consumption.

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