Andersen came to SA when his mariner father settled at Saldahna Bay in 1911. In 1914 his family went to Durban, and he studied engineering. Family pressures prevented an art career until he enrolled for art studies at the Durban Technical College.He also joined the NSA, becoming a Council member in 1929 and its President in 1937, 1946, 1949 and 1955.

Art Education

  • 1924 – 1928 Studied Art at Natal Tech Art School, Durban, under OJP Oxley and Alfred R Martin.
  • 1938 Nils Andersen Studied Ceramics at Natal Tech Art School.

Short Artist Biography

  • Childhood spent at sea with his father, a Norwegian Master Mariner
  • 1911 Nils Andersen was brought to South Africa
  • 1912 Nils Andersen settled in Durban; trained as engineer; drew and painted from an early age
  • 1924 Joined NSA (President 1937, 1946, 1949 and 1955); began formal art studies
  • 1933 Nils Andersen commenced fulltime career as an artist; carried out works in various painting and graphic media, initially favouring watercolour especially.
  • 1942 – 1944 Taught art and ceramics at Durban Tech; war-artist for Natal Command and RN
  • 1962 Nils Andersen took ill and painted very little thereafter. Lived in Durban from 1912, but traveled widely across Southern Africa; camped out on several trips to Namibia with Mr. E Schweikerdt of Pretoria. Several of his works have been reproduced locally by E Schweikerdt (Pty) Ltd; and one from the collection of King Haakon VII of Norway was reproduced in that country.

Art Exhibitions

  • 1982 Nils Andersen first at exhibition (two-man, with Joy Krause) at Durban Art Gallery whiles still a student. Frequent one-man exhibitions thereafter all over South Africa; exhibited annually in Pretoria from 1943 – 1962
  • 1941 South African War Art Exhibition
  • 1966 Republic Fest Exhibition, Pretoria


  • Dioramas at Durban Museum; 14 murals at Norwegian Hall, Durban; two murals at Natal Chamber of Commence, Durban; one mural in boardroom of ‘Natal Mercury’, Durban.

Public Art collections

  • South Africa National Art Gallery, Cape Town; AC White Art Gallery, Bloemfontein; Ann Bryant Art Gallery, East London; King George VI Art Gallery, Port Elizabeth; Durban Art Gallery; South African National War Museum, Johannesburg.

Berman, E. 1994. Art & Artists of South Africa . Southern Book Publishers.

Collections in the Archives