Friday, February 13, 2015

Guest Star Friday #143... Jóhannes Sveinsson Kjarval

 Mount Esja 10 February 1959

Along with the incredible landscape here in Iceland, I am also influenced by many Icelandic artists. This trip I've been looking closely at Jóhannes Sveinsson Kjarval, who is considered to be the most important Icelandic painter. I think my acute interest in observation and documenting what I see in photographs lead me to Kjarval's work which is, at its heart, observational and very personal. When I look at his paintings I understand what he saw and why he portrayed the environment as he did. Each painting feels like an intimate moment captured in color, points of light, and texture. One of the first places I visited when I returned to Reykjavík was Kjarvalsstaðir, a museum devoted to his work. It was both thrilling and calming to see his work in person after only viewing it online. The works tend to be fairly large and the details of texture and brushstrokes are not visible on the computer screen. I was also taken with the locations depicted in several pieces because they are places I have witnessed first-hand. For this post I have paired Kjarval's paintings from the museum with my own photographs taken of the same places.

Finally, when I visited the museum I discovered the top painting was signed on February 10, 1959 and realized February 10 was coming up. So, on February 10, 2015 I returned to the museum just to look at that painting on its birthday. It felt very special to do this.

Glacier Vision, undated

my image of a glacier

From Þingvellir, 1939-40

my image of Þingvellir

 Lómagnúpur Mountain, 1944

my image of Lómagnúpur Mountain, from the other side

Thanks for reading.

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