Gallery Artists > David Nordahl Biography :

David Nordahl (b. 1941)  Artworks >>

A painter in realist and luminist styles of 19th-century western frontier scenes, David Nordahl is especially interested in the culture of the Apache Indians and their confrontations with the United States military. He grew up as a farm boy in Minnesota, and by age 13 was earning money as an artist for his portraits of local townsfolk and for religious drawings. He also did silkscreen posters. Nordahl moved to Minneapolis where, with a friend, he established a business of doing murals, wall coverings and fabrics. However, in 1973, he sold out to devote himself to his western easel painting featuring Apaches. He and his wife, Lori, settled in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. However, he became flustered when he could find only a few books in the Denver library on the subject, so he decided to move to Santa Fe where he could be directly involved with the Apache Indians. His goal is to simply tell the story of the Apache people, a story that shows people especially vulnerable to white encroachment because they lived in small, often separated bands of 20 to 30 persons. The only surviving photographs he has found of them are from the reservation days when they were in captivity and not in their natural environment. Nordahl became so knowledgeable about them that he has served as an authenticator of Apache clothing and other items for persons who are interested in them. In the late 1980s, Nordahl suspended his Indian painting to do special commission work such as theme-park designs and special projects with Stephen Spielberg and for Michael Jackson, for whom he illustrated a book. About 2000, Nordahl returned to his Indian painting, focusing more on male figures and dramatic lighting effects. His wife, Lori, trains quarter horses for competitions, and the couple has three grown children. Reference:

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