(1804 - 1887)
Peder Balke was a Norwegian painter. He was known for portraying the nature of Norway in a positive manner and influenced a dramatic and romantic view of the Norwegian landscape.
Peter Andersen was born on the island of Helgøya. Helgøya an island in Mjøsa, Helgøya is the largest fresh-water island in Norway. He grew up as a workman´s son in hard times Helgøya, but stayed in the 1820s on the farm Vester-Balke Toten. Here he was considered "a son of the house" and took the name Balke.
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.
Helgøya island is located south of the Nes, and has been connected to the mainland by the Nessundet Bridge. The island consists of 32 farms. The most notable of these are the old manor Hovinsholm that until 1612 had its own church.
Another old farm is Eik that has given the name of the tallest hill on the island: Eksberget, and Høvelsrud which, with its 17th century gardens now open to the public, has recently been restored. The island is generally rich in medieval traces. Helgøya Church was inaugurated on 7 December 1870. The chapel was built in timber and blockwork in the Gothic Revival style. The church has about 200 seats. The chapel was restored and partially rebuilt in the 1970s.
Peder Balke grew up in Ringsaker, but lived in the 1820s on the Balke farm in Toten. 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.
Peder Balke is represented in the National Gallery with 14 artworks.
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.
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.