Nels (Nielsen) Hagerup created stunning seascapes, mostly scenes off of San Francisco. He created over 6,000 such works. He was the product of an artistic Norwegian family which included famed composer Edvard Hagerup Grieg. He is among other Norwegian artist immigrants to California; Carl Henrick Jonnevold, Chris Jorgensen, and Paul Lauritz.
Nels Hagerup was born in 1864, and as a teen studied art at the Royal Academy in Berlin and later he studied in Copenhagen with Carl Locher. At age18, he came to America, working as a merchant seaman. He settled in Portland, Oregon in 1882. He taught drawing there at the Bishop Scott Academy, and was one of the founders of the Portland Art Association in 1895.
Nels married Harriet Marie Hageman Hagerup (1851 - 1918). She was born in Bergen, Norway on June 26, 1851. Harriet Marie and Nels came from Portland to San Francisco in 1892 and established a home at 1224 46th Avenue in the Sunset District, less than a block from Golden Gate Park and three blocks from Ocean Beach. To support his family, Nels worked as a stevedore. When not at work, he often walked to the beach and painted, and he is well known for his sand dunes, ships, and marine scenes and sunsets.
Mrs. Hagerup preceded Nels in death, and died on April 30, 1918. Her rare works include copies of religious genre and other artists' paintings; she seldom signed her paintings.
Not much is written or known of Nels Hagerup. Our gallery has been unable to find a photograph of him, but the search goes on.
Source: Artists in California 1786 - 1940, Edan Milton Hughes, 3d ed. ; Oregon Historical Society, Oregon Art, Artists Biographies