Peder Balke

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Peder Balke
Peder balke.jpg
Born Peder Andersen
(1804-11-04)4 November 1804
Helgøya, Norway
Died 5 February 1887(1887-02-05) (aged 82)
Nationality Norwegian
Education Royal Swedish Academy of Arts
Known for Painting

Peder Balke (November 4, 1804 – February 5, 1887) was a Norwegian painter. He was known for portraying the nature of Norway in a positive[citation needed] manner and influenced a dramatic and romantic view of the Norwegian landscape.[1]


Peter Andersen was born on the island of Helgøya, in Hedmark county, Norway. He grew up Ringsaker, but stayed in the 1820s on the Balke farm in Toten in Oppland county. Farmers in Toten paid for his education, and as thanks he decorated several of the farms in Toten on his return. They actively encouraged his painting activities and later supported him in 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 Johan Fahlcrantz at the art academy in Stockholm. 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 over Vossevangen to Gudvangen, further over Filefjell to Valdres and thence across the mountains to Hallingdal. All the way he painted and drew small sketches that were later developed into paintings. He also traveled to Germany, and Russia. He visited Paris and London.

In Stockholm, he completed several of the paintings he had outlined on his Finnmark 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. Besides the 17 paintings in the National Gallery in Oslo, Peder Balke is also represented at several major art collections in Norway and Sweden.[2]

Personal life[edit]

He was married in 1834 to Karen Eriksdatter Strand . He was engaged in social questions and organized the construction of Balkeby, a new part of Oslo, with improved domestic conditions for workers. He also advocated grants for artist and pensions for men and women. He is the great-grandfather of Turid Balke and great-great-grandfather of Jon Balke.


Peder Balke purchased parcels of the historic Nedre Blindern farm between 1858 and 1876. The Balke association organized the suburb. Plot buyers could borrow money from Balke and construct the building themselves. By 1865, there were 300 people in Balkeby and the area was relatively well populated by workers. Eventually they took in lodgers, so that the population increased.

Balkeby provided an opportunity for a population to have their own home within a reasonable distance from the city, especially after the horse trams came in 1875. In 1878 when the area was incorporated into the city of Oslo, at which time about 1100 people lived there. Balke had set up strict rules for buildings, including the broad ones to prevent fire. However on 13 June 1879, many of the houses in Balkeby burned to the ground.

The former Balkeby suburb was located northeast of what is today Oslo's main shopping street Bogstadveien in Majorstuen and Hegdehaugen neighbourhoods in the Frogner district of Oslo.[3]


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