About Einar Jónsson Museum
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Jónsson chose to locate the museum on the top of Skolavorduhaed, "a desolate hill on the outskirts of town," as he puts it in his autobiography. The museum was the first building to be constructed on the top of the hill and Jónsson realized what possibilities this location, the highest in town, offered. Like some of his contemporaries, he dreamt of Skolavorduhaed becoming the political and cultural Acropolis of an independent Iceland. The museum was built according to a plan by the artist and it may thus be said that the museum building constitutes his biggest sculpture. The building served as his studio, as a gallery for his works and even as his home. The museum building is indisputably the work of Jónsson, although it was the architect Einar Erlendsson who officially signed the plans for the museum in June 1916, the same year the foundation of the museum was laid.
The Einar Jónsson Museum was officially opened on Midsummer's Day in 1923. This was a watershed event for Icelandic art, as the building was the country's first art museum. The building rises from a high and heavy pedestal, as if it were a sculpture, and its architectural style mirrors the stylistic upheaval of the turn of the century, a time during which people were searching for new forms of expression. It is not possible to place the building under any one stylistic heading. Far from being an expression of classicism, the building is a typical example of eclecticism; in other words, ideas from a variety of different sources were utilized in its design. A similar attitude is prevalent today as we near the end of the century; no single style is dominant and everything is permitted.
The museum's penthouse apartment, probably the first in Iceland, is unique, and the view from the apartment one of the most beautiful in Reykjavik. Jónsson and his Danish-born wife, Anna Jorgensen, established a modest yet cosmopolitan artist's home there, furnishing it with uncommon furniture and art. The Jónsson home (www.skulptur.is/hus/1.html) is part of the museum and is preserved in its original condition.
The museum contains close to 300 art works spanning a 60 year career: carvings from the artist's youth, sculptures, paintings and drawings. A beautiful tree-clad garden adorned with 26 bronze casts of the artist's works is located behind the museum. The task of the museum is to collect, preserve and display the work of Einar Jónsson and conduct research on his life and art. The museum is a private institution funded by the Icelandic government. The statutes of the museum are set forth in the artist's testament of September 11th, 1954.
The director of the museum is art historian Júlíana Gottskálksdóttir. The museum's Board of Trustees is comprised of: Sesselja Snaevarr, who is also the chairman, Hjalti Hugason, Gudrún Erlendsdóttir, Sigurður Helgason and Laufey Gudjónsdottir.
First To Review: Arndís Á.
Feb 22, 2011
The REYKJAVÍK WELCOME CARD makes it easier for you to enjoy the best that the city has to offer. Available for 24, 48 or 72 hours and offering great value for money, the welcome card gives you free admission to all of Reykjavík’s thermal pools, a great many museums and other attractions, unlimited travel on the Reykjavík buses, discounts at shops and restaurants and free internet access.
Nov 19, 2011
The garden is the must see part, free and permanently open. It's behind the museum, entrance from Freyjugata, not Eiriksgata where the museum is. The museum is not very expensive itself, but if you have a short time in Reykjavik, a walk through the garden on your way to some souvenir shopping in the city center is an excellent use of your time :)