Exploring the Natural World through Printmaking: Olive Jensen Nordby

Spring 2024

Olive Jensen Nordby (1915-2014) taught art at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and worked as a commercial artist, but she was best known for woodcuts, prints made with a carved wooden block. Inspired by the natural world and her Norwegian heritage, she was especially interested in using woodcuts to express the feeling of Norway – the rugged landscape, the wooden buildings, and the people. “Everyday subjects with interesting pattern or contrast also make good subjects,” Olive said. “I feel woodcuts should show their connection with the wood by using the grain whenever possible.” The exhibit in Vesterheim Commons Gallery will feature Olive’s views of Norway and everyday life and explain the process of making woodcuts. The exhibit includes some of Olive’s original wood blocks, recently donated to Vesterheim by her husband, Dr. Eugene J. Nordby.

Borgund Stavkirke wood block, by Olive Nordby. 

Vesterheim 2023.010.007—Gift of Dr. Eugene J. Nordby in memory of Olive Nordby.