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NELS HAGERUP (1864-1922)

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Nels Hagerup (1864-1922)

Nels Hagerup was born in Christiania, Norway in 1864. He had an artistic family, including the composer Edward Hagerup Grieg. As a teenager he studied at the Christiania Art School, Royal Academy in Berlin, and later in Copenhagen with Carl Locher.


At the age of 18 he sailed to the West Coast as a merchant seaman, and settled in Portland, Oregon. There he was a drawing instructor at the Bishop Scott Academy (now called Hill Academy) and was a founder of the Portland Art Association. Around 1892 he moved to San Francisco where he remained. He worked there as a stevedore on the waterfront and later established a home and studio in the Sunset District.


Hagerup painted nearly 6,000 oils of sand dunes, ships and marine scenes. One of his more important works is a mural in the Assembly Room of the San Francisco Merchants' Exchange Building. Over the course of his career, he exhibited in Portland, Seattle, and multiple times in California.


Due to alcoholism some of his paintings are uneven in quality; however, in his more lucid moments, he was a master of atmospheric seascapes. He died of a heart attack in his studio on March 13, 1922.



Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"



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