Pioneer of Icelandic Painting
Iceland does not have a long history of painting or of the visual arts, contrary to the European tradition. For many reasons, a combination of economical and cultural poverty, the nation, so rich in medieval literature and art, suffered somewhat from artistic anemia throughout the late middle ages and into the 18th Century, when the advent of romanticism finally made waves in the Icelandic art scape. Ásgrímur Jónsson (1876-1958) was one of the pioneers of Icelandic art and the first Icelander to take up painting professionally. He painted mainly landscapes, memorable for their vivid colors, and his paintings, watercolors and drawings from Icelandic folklore are still unrivaled.
Arts & Museums
- Venue Description:
The National Gallery was founded in 1884 and houses the national collection of nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first-century Icelandic and international art. Furthermore, the National Gallery is a center for the study, documentation and promotion of Icelandic art. The Gallery's current location is relatively new, but for many years this central institution of Icelandic art was more or less homeless. However, in 1988 an elegant old ice-house, located by the Reykjavík pond and originally designed by state architect Guðjón Samúelsson in 1916-17, was extensively restored and extended to house the National Art Gallery. The National Gallery regularly exhibits a variety of works from its own collection, as well as holding extensive exhibitions of works by Icelandic and international artists, classic, modern and contemporary, every year, such as the Ásgrímur Jónsson Collection.