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Profile of the Day: Harriet Backer

On this day in 1845, Norwegian painter Harriet Backer was born. A pioneer for female artists, Backer became one of the most prominent Norwegian artists during her lifetime.

Profile of the Day: Harriet Backer

Image: Harriet Backer / National Library of Norway, Flickr

Backer was born on January 21, 1845 in Holmstrand, Vestfold, Norway and was one of four daughters born to Nils Backer and Sofie Smith Petersen. Her mother had come from a wealthy family, which allowed Backer and her sisters the freedom to cultivate their artistic gifts. Her sister, Agathe Backer Grøndahl, became a prominent concert pianist and Backer would accompany her sister on tour throughout Europe. During this time, she studied paintings in local museums and spent hours copying them into her sketch book. From a young age, Backer had shown a gift for drawing and she took private art lessons during her travels. When she finally returned home, she decided to formally pursue an education and career as a painter.

Backer became known for her detailed paintings of interior scenes and produced about 180 works of art. She became one of the few Norwegian female painters to achieve recognition and success during her lifetime.

Explore Harriet Backer’s family tree on Geni and share your connection to the Norwegian artist.

View Harriet Backer’s Geni Profile


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