The Gift to the People

Group exhibition
The Gift to the People
AS Art Museums Founding Collection from Ragnar Jnsson of Smri
Galleries 08 09

It was big news when the entrepreneur Ragnar Jnsson, known for his margarine factory Smri, decided to donate his collection of paintings to the Icelandic Confederation of Labour (AS) in the summer of 1961. Jnssons wish was to establish an art museum that would present art to the working people of Iceland. AS Art Museum was founded with Jnssons donation of 147 works, a collection that includes works by the most renowned Icelandic artists from the last century.

Ragnar Jnsson built his collection around a core of large, arresting works by five painters whom he ranked as being the most celebrated artists of their time. They were sgrmur Jnsson, Jhannes S. Kjarval, Jn Stefnsson, Gunnlaugur Scheving and orvaldur Sklason.

In emphasizing these five artists, this exhibition seeks to convey the gist of Ragnars acquisition policy and to reflect his view of Icelandic art history.The exhibition is a collaborative project between Akureyri Art Museum and AS Art Museum.

Curator: Kristn G. Gunadttir, art historian.