Hafnarborg, the Hafnarfjörður Centre of Culture and Fine Art, was founded when chemist Sverrir Magnússon and his wife Ingibjörg Sigurjónsdóttir donated their house at Strandgata 34 along with an extensive collection of artworks and books to the town of Hafnarfjörður. The deed was signed on the 75th anniversary of Hafnafjördur’s municipality status, 1 June 1983. The works on display here are a part of the collection that Sverrir and Ingibjörg donated to the town.
The works donated by Sverrir and Ingibjörg form a distinct collection within the Hafnarborg collection, referred to as the Founding Collection [stofngjöf]. The Founding Collection counts almost 200 works, primarily consisting of landscapes by Icelandic artists, but also including still-lifes and portraits. Works in the museum collection are allotted numbers from Hb-1 and up, the works of the Founding Collection having the lowest numbers.
The works selected for this exhibition reflect the Founding Collection and its diversity. There are works by leading Icelandic artists as well as works by lesser known artists. The majority of the works in the Founding Collection were made by men.
Hafnarborg’s complete collection now counts over 1400 works, which have either been purchased by or donated to the museum. The museum received substantial donations from artists Eiríkur Smith and Elías B. Halldórsson. Annually, Hafnarborg acquires works for the collection, suggestions thereof being submitted to the museum’s art council. The annual acquisition budget is 1,000,000 krónur.