Landscape at the Coast

Betzy Akersloot-Berg
2 min
Year: 1879



The artist Betzy Akersloot-Berg was enthralled by wave-battered and desolate strips of coast.  

Landscape at the Coast is one of her earliest known paintings, and the subject probably derives from the coast of Helgeland in Northern Norway. The wooden houses in the morning mist stand in contrast to the extreme circumstances in which the artist would often work later in her career – at times sitting in a specially-designed wooden crate to protect her from the elements. 

True to her motto "Work is the bright spot in life", Akersloot-Berg was a hard-working artist, and also something of an adventurer. She was not afraid to undertake arduous and uncomfortable journeys in order to paint her favourite subjects – the sea and the coast. 

Like the time when she set out on the Arctic Ocean, heading for Svalbard in a whaling schooner to complete a commission for Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm II. She is said to have lashed herself to the mast of the schooner, perhaps to look out for subjects to paint.  

Although Akersloot-Berg lived in the Netherlands from early in her career, she travelled back to the weather-beaten Norwegian coast as often as she could. 

In one letter she wrote: 

“Every summer, I was by the coast in Norway to study my rocks and my sea. My study trips to Norway lasted from the earliest spring until as late in the autumn as it was possible for me to endure the wind and weather.” 

In 1955, her home on the rugged Dutch island of Vlieland was made into a museum.  

This made Betzy Akersloot-Berg one of the very few Norwegian artists to have their own museum abroad.