Reykjavik Art Museum
Where It All Started
Although Iceland is a young nation in terms of art history, you’d be
surprised to discover the quality and unique character of Iceland’s finest artists. Reykjavik Art Museum offers the chance to experience the best of classic and contemporary art in Iceland in one enlightening day. The museum is situated in three different buildings in the city centre: Hafnarhús, Kjarvalsstaðir and Ásmundarsafn, each with its own theme and character. The Must-See
Those wondering who the stately gentleman staring at you from the 2,000 krónur bill is and where the unique imagery comes from, would be well advised to visit Kjarvalsstaðir, home to Iceland’s most beloved painter, Jóhannes S. Kjarval (1885-1972). While it is hard not to be inspired by Iceland’s colourful landscape, few have managed to capture its essence and tie it so securely into the Icelandic psyche as Kjarval did.
Among the dozens of celebrated paintings you’ll find now on display the exquisite Fjallamjólk, which Icelandic art scholars claim has contributed more to the Icelandic identity than any other painting, making it an absolute must-see and worth the trip to Kjarvalsstaðir by itself.
The Kjarvalsstaðir museum is dedicated to permanent exhibitions of Kjarval’s works, a sizable portion of which he donated to the city of Reykjavik before his death, as well as exhibitions of paintings, sculptures and design by established Icelandic and international artists.
Get With the Times
While Kjarvalsstaðir covers the more conventional forms of artistic expression, Hafnarhúsið has the liberty to experiment and take on ambitious projects with contemporary artists from all over the world.
While Hafnarhúsið has six different galleries devoted to the most exciting current happenings, one of them is dedicated to a permanent exhibition of the works of Erró, the acclaimed pop-artist who has donated over 2,000 works to the museum.
Being located close to the city centre in an intriguing building and due to its ambitious undertakings, Hafnarhúsið has become a center of-sorts for the
creative arts in Reykjavik.
The Hidden Pearl
Probably the least known of the three buildings is Ásmundarsafn, which is quite remarkable considering that it is dedicated to the wonders of one of Iceland’s foremost sculptors, Ásmundur Sveinsson (1893-1982).
The museum is housed in a unique building, designed mostly by the artist himself, who sought inspiration from the Mediterranean, the domed buildings of the Middle East, and the pyramids of Egypt. Ásmundur’s sculptures can be found surrounding the house and on the inside, making a magical land inspired by Icelandic landscapes, literature and its people. All in One Day
The famous landscapes of Iceland are well known and easily accessible, but only through the eye of the artistic mind can one fully comprehend their significance to the nation‘s identity, making it an unmissable part of your discovery of Iceland. Reykjavik Art Museum offers its guests a chance to do it all in one day with their museum day passes. What really makes it an outing worth your time is that it also gives you the chance to experience the culture of Reykjavik while you stroll between the museums and relax in their coffee shops where patrons of the arts spend their time. You can even get souvenirs and informative books to commemorate your day.
Look out for Reykjavik Art Museum’s autumn programme for upcoming exhibitions.