Peder Severin Kroyer was born in July 1851, in the city of Stavanger, Norway. Her mother was judged unfit to care for young Peder, so he was raised by his aunt Bertha and Uncle Henrik Nikolai Kroyer, who was a renowned Danish zoologist. He soon went to Copenhagen, Denmark, to live with his foster parents.
Kroyer studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Art, under the teachings of Frederik Vermehren. In 1870, he concluded his studies at the institution, which also awarded him a scholarship and a gold medal three years later.
His exhibition debut was in 1871. He sowed a portrait of a friend of his, the painter Frans Schwartz, the painting was held at the Charlottenborg Palace, where the artists exhibited regularly throughout his career.
In 1874, Kroyer sold his first painting to Heinrich Hirschsprung, who became his patron for most of his career.
From 1877 to 1881, he traveled extensively throughout Europe, being able to develop his skills, study art, and meet artists. He spent more time in Paris, where he would study under Leon Bonnat. During this period, he came under the influence of the Impressionists, such as Alfred Sisley, Claude Monet, Edouard Manet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Edgar Degas. Kroyer was greatly interested in foreign cultures and artists, drawing several times inspiration from them. His early trips were made possible thanks to Hirschsprung’s financial support.
Upon his return back to Denmark in 1882, Kroyer spent a long period in the city of Skagen, a modest fisher village in north Denmark, there he produced many paintings depicting the day-to-day life of the community. He was responsible for developing the artistic and literary scene in Skagen, along with Georg Brandes, Holger Drachmann, Henrik Pontoppidan, as well as artists Anna Ancher and Michael Ancher.
In 1888, during his many trips to Paris, Kroyer ran into fellow artist Marie Mathilde Triepcke, whom he met back in Copenhagen. Following a troubled romance, they married in 1889. From this point, Marie would often appear in Kroyer’s paintings. The couple had one daughter, Vibeke.
At the end of his life, Kroyer endured many health problems, especially half-blind. However, despite many obstacles, the artist remained to paint until his passing.