Exhibition Opening: Heads from Clouds – The Portraits of Jóhannes S. Kjarval

Jóhannes S. Kjarval, Björn Jóhannsson bóndi, 1927

The exhibition Heads from Clouds – The Portraits of Jóhannes S. Kjarval opnar opens at Reykjavík Art Museum – Kjarvalsstaðir on Thursday, 16 June at 20.00.

Throughout his career, Kjarval created portraits, and in this extensive exhibition visitors become acquainted with them. Here, there are oil paintings of well-known people from different periods, watercolours of Italian people from 1920, a selection of ink and India ink drawings from 1928-30, red chalk images of family and close friends, and lesser-known portraits from his later years. Finally, there are group images which have never been displayed together. The exhibition also contains all of Kjarval’s available self-portraits. Kjarval’s portraits have been prominent in retrospectives of his works and various group exhibitions but until now they have not been the focus of a whole exhibition.

Jóhannes Sveinsson Kjarval (1885-1972) is one of Iceland’s most beloved artists, his paintings and interpretation of Icelandic landscape are a big part of the country’s cultural and art history. However, he started his official artistic career as a portrait painter, when he created portraits of four Landsbankinn’s managers, living and dead, in 1923. His drawings of common people in Iceland, from 1926-30, marked a watershed in his career, winning the hearts of the Icelandic people. These portrait drawings were also the first works of his that were acquired for the nation’s art collection.

Curator is Aðalsteinn Ingólfsson.