Arrangement with Razorbill Pitcher

Harriet Backer
Harrriet Backer, "Arrangement with Razorbill Pitcher", 1912
Photo: KODE / Dag Fosse


During her studies in Munich, Backer painted several still lifes. These were clearly influenced by the Munich school's interest in noble objects and expensive textiles.  

After she moved to Paris, however, she lost interest in this genre.  

It wasn’t until 30 years later that Backer returned to still life painting.  

Here in this lively painting, we see the characteristic razorbill mug in the middle of the picture.  

The mugg, “Alkemuggen”, was a new product from Egersund Fajansefabrikk – a pottery factory in the southwestern coast of Norway.  

The mug was designed by Backer's friend and painter, Jacob Sømme - who was a relation of Backer’s good friend Kitty Keilland. 

The light streams in from the large windows.  

The blue vase, which we recognize from so many of Backer's still lifes, is filled with yellow and light red tulips.  

The red apples on the table are in balanced contrast to the green potted plant on the right. 

Backer's still life from later years was painted in her own home, and studio, at Hansteensgate 2. And, this new picturesque setting brought with it, a new look...