Born in Sweden, Nordfeldt emigrated in 1898 to Chicago, where he studied for a year at the Art Institute. In 1919, along with a number of other Chicago artists, he moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he became a member of the Los Cincos Pintores (The Five Painters).

The series of works that comprise the Santa Fe Etchings point to Nordfeldt’s interest in nature and representation, marrying the two to an abstract tendency. His reduction of the scene to lines and somewhat flattened planes is reminiscent of Paul Cezanne, whose work he would have encountered on one of his many trips to Europe.