My Studio

Harriet Backer
Harriet Backer, "My Studio", 1918
Photo: Kode / Dag Fosse


For 30 years, Harriet Backer lived in a studio apartment in Hansteens gate 2 in Oslo. Here she had her own living room, a small kitchen and sleeping alcove.  

The apartment was also used for a painting school, which Backer ran to help supplement her income as an artist.  

At this time, having your own studio with enough light and space for all the equipment an artist needed was not a given. Several artists therefore combined home with studio, such as Backer.  

Backer's close friends, the portrait painter Asta Nørregård and the landscape painter Kitty Kielland, were also her closest neighbors with studios on the same floor.  

Backer painted several interiors, portraits, still lifes, and views from this studio.  

In My Studio we see a red velvet sofa next to the large windows facing the city.  

We see the cold, blue, winter light creating a calm and atmospheric contrast to the warm textiles. This especially brings out the yellow in the woven rugs that lie on the table and floor.  

The wall to the left of the window is covered with plaster casts of arms and legs, which Backer would use both in teaching, but also as a motif element in still lifes.  

Another recognizable motif is the blue vase seen here, which is often filled with fresh flowers in the artist's still lifes.