Ender was born to a farming family at Asker in Akershus, Norway. He began his art studies from 1867 to 1871 with the sculptor, Julius Middelthun, at the Royal Drawing School. He later attended the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts (1872–74) and the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich (1875–80), with financial support from King Charles IV. He also conducted study trips to Munich (1875) and Paris (1878).
His most notable project was the bronze sculpture of Peter Tordenskjold, Vice-Admiral in the Royal Danish-Norwegian Navy. His commission for the statue was the result of a major artistic competition. Ender worked for ten years (1891–1901) to complete his work which now stands at Rådhusplassen in Oslo. For his finished work, he was made a Knight in the Royal Norwegian Order of Saint Olav.
His paintings were frequently in the category of Romantic nationalism. Many of his early works were exhibited at the Christiania Kunstforening (now Oslo Kunstforening).  Altarpieces of his creation may be seen at Åsnes Church in Hedmark, Haug Church in Ringerike, Kampen Church in Oslo, Østre Porsgrunn Church in Telemark and Lunner Church in Oppland. The altarpiece which he designed for the former Molde Cathedral in Møre og Romsdal, was retained and stands today at the north wall of the new basilica which was constructed in 1957.  
- "Axel Ender". Store norske leksikon. Retrieved October 1, 2017.
- Ole Rønning Johannesen. "Axel Ender, maler og billedhugger". Norsk kunstnerleksikon. Retrieved October 1, 2017.
- "Statues of Historic Figures: Peter Tordenskjold - Oslo, Norway". Waymarking.com. Retrieved October 1, 2017.
- Annette Faltin. "Oslo Kunstforening". Store norske leksikon. Retrieved October 1, 2017.
- "Molde domkyrkje". kulturnett.no. Retrieved October 1, 2017.
Media related to Paintings by Axel Ender at Wikimedia Commons
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