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 John Olaf Todahl  (1884 - 1924)

About: John Olaf Todahl


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Lived/Active: Connecticut/Minnesota      Known for: illustrator, marine view and interior scene painting

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John Olaf Todahl
An example of work by John Olaf Todahl
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following, submitted February 2004, was written by Jim Kieley, Woodbury, Connecticut. He credits magazines and newspapers and Who Was Who in American Art by Peter Falk.

J O Todahl was a talented painter and illustrator who specialized in Marine motifs. Scribner's was one of the magazines that carried his work.

Todahl was born in Crookston, Minnesota in 1884 and lived in Milford, Connecticut. It appears that the young artist had some formal training.

Todahl was a flexible creator, whose commissions from popular magazines kept him in the forefront. He created a popular poster for Red Cross Magazine, May 1918, and the poster is still reproduced at this time. The Cruise of The Cuttlefish was a serial in Boys Life Magazine in 1924, and it was written by Francis Lynde and illustrated by Todahl.

Upon viewing a large canvas titled King of The Reef ,'I was able to observe that the picture is very dramatic with a variety of colors including cool blue and green tints accented with warm tones of rust. The figures are elongated, and the background is full of realistic details---an old stove along with iron pans, peeling painted cupboards, and ship models. Although very detailed the artist used a fairly loose painterly technique.

Most pictures by this artist are signed boldly using the first initials (J O Todahl) . The artist's home town, Milford, Connecticut, is located near Long Island Sound and has many boat yards and beaches as well as mysterious-seeming weathered houses built along the sea. Known for its focus on marine activity, it is the home of the first submarine.

John Todahl loved Milford's nautical environment, which inspired his realistic depictions of that area.

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