B.J.O. Nordfeldt, 'St. Paul's Church' (St. Pauls' Chapel), etching, edition not stated, c. 1915. Signed in pencil. A superb, richly-inked impression, with skillfully controlled plate tone, printed on off-white, antique, laid paper; the full sheet with margins (5/8 to 2 1/4 inches), in very good condition. Scarce. Matted to museum standards, unframed.
An impression of this work is in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
A solo exhibition of Nordfeldt’s etchings and woodcuts was presented by the Smithsonian Institution in 1926. In 1920, Nordfeldt had a one-man show at the Chicago Arts Club. In 1926, he won the bronze medal at the sesquicentennial exposition in Philadelphia and the Logan Medal at the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1927, he won the first annual prize from the Brooklyn Society of Etchers, and the following year he won first prize from the Chicago Society of Etchers. In 1929, Nordfeldt had a one-man show at the Denver Art Museum. Nordfeldt's work is held in numerous museum collections including Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, Ft. Worth; Anschutz Collection, Denver; Art Institute of Chicago; Biblioteque d’Art et d’Archeologie, Paris; British Museum, London; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Los Angeles County Museum; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City; Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe; National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; National Gallery, Sydney, Australia; Phillips Collection, Washington, DC.
ABOUT ST. PAUL'S CHAPEL
St. Paul's Chapel, nicknamed "The Little Chapel That Stood", is an Episcopal chapel located at 209 Broadway, between Fulton Street and Vesey Street, in Lower Manhattan, New York City. Built in 1766, it is the oldest surviving church building in Manhattan, and one of the nation's finest examples of Late Georgian church architecture. It is a New York City Landmark and a National Historic Landmark.
The Hearts of Oak, a militia unit organized early in the American Revolutionary War, and composed in part of King's College (later, Columbia University) students, would drill in the Chapel's yard before classes nearby. Alexander Hamilton was an officer of this unit. The chapel survived the Great New York City Fire of 1776 when a quarter of New York City (then confined to the lower tip of Manhattan), including Trinity Church, burned following the British capture of the city after the Battle of Long Island during the American Revolutionary War. George Washington, along with members of the United States Congress, worshipped at St. Paul's Chapel on his Inauguration Day, April 30, 1789. Washington also attended services at St. Paul's during the two years New York City was the country's capital. Above Washington's pew is an 18th-century oil painting of the Great Seal of the United States, adopted in 1782.
The rear of St. Paul's Chapel faces Church Street, opposite the east side of the World Trade Center site. After the attacks on September 11, 2001, which led to the collapse of the twin towers of the World Trade Center, St. Paul's Chapel served as a place of rest and refuge for recovery workers at the WTC site. For eight months, hundreds of volunteers worked 12-hour shifts around the clock, serving meals, making beds, counseling and praying with firefighters, construction workers, police, and others. Massage therapists, chiropractors, podiatrists, and musicians also tended to their needs.
The church survived without even a broken window. Church history declares it was spared by a miracle sycamore on the northwest corner of the property that was hit by debris. The tree's root has been preserved in a bronze memorial by sculptor Steve Tobin. The Chapel was turned into a makeshift memorial shrine following the September 11 attacks. The fence around the church grounds became the main spot for visitors to place impromptu memorials to the event. After it became filled with flowers, photos, teddy bears, and other paraphernalia, chapel officials decided to erect panels on which visitors could add to the memorial. Estimating that only 15 would be needed in total, they eventually required 400.
The Chapel is now a popular tourist destination since it still keeps many of the memorial banners around the sanctuary and has an extensive audio-video history of the event. There are several exhibits in the Chapel. The first one, when entering is "Healing Hearts and Minds", which consists of a policeman's uniform covered with police and firefighter patches sent from all over the country, including Iowa, West Virginia, California, etc. The most visible is the "Thread Project", which consists of several banners, each of a different color, and woven from diverse locations from around the globe, hung from the upper level over the pews.