Thursday, 27 September 2018

Peder Balke - part 1


The Norwegian landscape and marine painter Peder Balke (1804–1887) merged the Romantic movement's spiritual vein of naturalism with an expressiveness rarely equalled by his contemporaries. Born in humble circumstances in what was then a northern hinterland, Balke trained as an artisan before pursuing his aim to become an artist in the broader European tradition, which led to formative contacts with Caspar David Friedrich and Johan Christian Dahl. From the 1840s onward, Balke searched for ever more personal means to convey the wild beauty of Norway, producing dramatic, even hallucinatory paintings that reject conventional fine-art techniques in favour of radical simplifications of form and colour. Balke seems to have ceased painting after the 1870s, and he was essentially forgotten until the 20th century. In recent years, however, he’s been rediscovered by artists, collectors, and scholars alike.

Born” Peter Andersen” on the island of Helgøya in Hedmark County, Norway. He grew up in Ringsaker, but lived in the 1820s on the Balke farm in Toten in Oppland County. Farmers in Toten paid for his education, and he decorated several farms in Toten in return. They actively encouraged his painting activities and later supported him in obtaining higher education.

In the autumn of 1827, Balke served as an apprentice to Heinrich August Grosch. He was also a student at the Tegneskole under Grosch and Jacob Munch, Balke signed a two-year contract as an apprentice to the Danish decorator and artist Jens Funch. From autumn 1829 to spring 1833, he was a pupil of Carl Joham Fahlcrantz at the art academy in Stocholm. Balke was also a pupil of Johan Christian Dahl from 1843 to 1844.

During the summer of 1830 he walked through Telemark, Rjukan, Vestfjorddalen through Røldal and Kinsarvik to the city of Bergen, and then back through Vossenvangen to Gudvangen, further over Filefjell to Valdres and then across the mountains to Hallingdal. Along the way, he painted and drew small sketches that were later developed into paintings. He also travelled to Germany, and Russia. He visited Paris and London.


In Stockholm, he completed several of the paintings he had outlined on his 1832 Finnamark tour. Some of these were sold to the royal family. In 1846 he sold thirty of his paintings to Louis Philippe I of France for the Versailles Palace. Besides the 17 paintings in the National Gallery in Oslo, Peder Balke is also represented at several major art collections in Norway and Sweden.

This is part 1 of 2-part post on the works of Peder Balke:


1829c Christiania Viewed from Ekeberg

1836 The Waterfall at Rjukan
oil on canvas

1840 Landscape with Mills and Rapids

1840-49 c North Cape
oil on canvas 94 x 123 cm
Private Collection

1840-49 Moonlit View of Trondheim
 oil on canvas 44 x 63 cm
Private Collection

1840-49c A Distant View of Mount Stetind
oil on board 10.3 x 12.8 cm
Private Collection

1840-49c Ship in Breaking Waves
oil on canvas 64.5 x 91 cm
Bergen Kunstmuseum, Norway

1840-49c The North Cape
oil on cardboard 67.5 x 84 cm
Nasjonalmuseet for Kunst, Arkitektur og Design, Oslo, Norway

1840s The Jostedal Glacier
oil on canvas 128 x 174 cm
Göteborg Konstmuseum, Gothenburg, Norway

1842 Moonlight on the Coast at Steigen
oil on canvas 24 x 32.2 cm
Bergen Kunstmuseum, Norway

1843 Two Sailing Boats by Moonlight
oil on canvas 8.5 x 13 cm

1844-46c The Harbour at Skjervøy
oil on paper laid down on cardboard 12 x 17.5 cm
Private Collection

1845 The North Cape
oil on canvas 95 x 132 cm
Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum

1845-50c The Seven Sisters Mountain Range
oil on panel 25 x 31 cm
Private Collection

1845c The Mountain Range 'Trolltindene'
oil on canvas 30.8 x 41.9 cm
Private Collection

before 1847 Kielhomet Mountain at Stegen
oil on cardboard 28 x 37 cm
Louvre, Paris

1847 The Seven Sisters
oil on cardboard 28 x 37.6 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

1847 View of Hjelmso
oil on cardboard 27.5 x 37 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

1847-49 Steigen
oil on canvas 43 x 64.5 cm

1847-49c Old Trees
oil on paper laid down on cardboard 14 x 18.2 cm
Private Collection

1847-49c Steigen
 oil on paper laid down on cardboard 43 x 64.5 cm
Private Collection

1848 The North Cape by Moonlight
oil on canvas 62 x 85 cm
 Private Collection, Oslo, Norway

1848 The North Cape by Moonlight
oil on canvas

1849 Seascape
 oil on cardboard 35.4 x 44.8 cm
Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, Sweden

1850-55c Stormy Sea with a Steamer in Distress
oil on paper laid down on canvas 33.5 x 42.5 cm
Private Collection, Norway

1850-59c Tree in a Wintery Forest
oil on canvas 60 x 48 cm
Private Collection

1850-59c Vardøhus Fortress
oil on canvas 92 x 104 cm
Bergen Kunstmuseum, Norway

1850c Moonlit View of Stockholm
oil on canvas 67.3 x 100.3 cm

1850c Mount Stetind, Northern Norway
oil on paper 10.1 x 12.7 cm

1850c Sami with Reindeer under the Midnight Sun
oil on paper laid down on cardboard 18.5 x 26 cm
© Northern Norway Art Museum, Tromsø

1852 Fredrikshald
 oil on panel 22 x 28.5 cm
 Private Collection

1855c Lighthouse on the Norwegian Coast
oil on canvas 95 x 125 cm
Trondheim Kunstmuseum, Norway

1857-59 View of the Sarpsfoss Waterfalls, Norway
oil on panel 21 x 28 cm
Private Collection

1860-62c The Tempest
oil on wood panel 12 x 16.5 cm

1860-69 Coastal Landscape with Wreck
oil on copper 25 x 18 cm
Nasjonalmuseet for Kunst, Arkitektur og Design, Oslo, Norway

1860-69 Lighthouse on the Coast
oil on cardboard 26 x 36 cm
Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum, Tromsø, Norway

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