Events from the year 1861 in art.
- February – Hilda Sjölin opens a photography studio in Malmö, making her one of the first known Swedish female professional photographers.
- July 15 – English painter Joanna Mary Boyce dies aged 29 from complications following the birth of her third child, leaving her paintings Bird of God and Undine uncompleted (the latter being finished by her widower Henry Tanworth Wells); Dante Gabriel Rossetti makes a drawing of her on her deathbed.
- Paul Cézanne and his friend Émile Zola arrive in Paris.
- Berthe Morisot becomes a pupil of Corot.
- Édouard Manet has his first paintings accepted by the Salon (Paris) (The Spanish Singer and Portrait of M. and Mme. Auguste Manet).
- Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co., "Fine Art Workmen in Painting, Carving, Furniture and the Metals", set up in London by William Morris, P. P. Marshall, Charles Faulkner, Ford Madox Brown, Edward Burne-Jones, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Philip Webb to craft Pre-Raphaelite-inspired furnishings.
- William Bell Scott concludes his series of murals of Northumbrian history at Wallington Hall with Iron and Coal, the Nineteenth Century.