Elías B. Halldórsson

Work from the Collection

Elías B. Halldórsson was an Icelandic artist born in 1930 in Borgarfjörður eystri. He began his studies at the Icelandic College of Art and Crafts and then moved abroad for further education in art – first to Stuttgart in Germany and later on to Copenhagen in Denmark. Elías held his first solo exhibition in 1960 in the National Museum of Iceland and in 1992 he exhibited for the first time in Hafnarborg.

In 1993, Elías donated the graphic works that he had made before that time to Hafnarborg. The works were around 68 pieces from 1963 to the end of the century. During his career, Elías used both oil paint and prints in his art. His graphic works are mostly woodcuts showing diverse subjects, ranging from daily life to sensual acts and motifs inspired by poems or other texts. The exhibition includes works that Elías made for the poetry of his son, Gyrðir Elíasson.

The exhibition depicts the world of an artist who began his career in the mid-twentieth century – an artist who wasn’t afraid to go his own ways or off the beaten track. While the paintings of Elías B. Halldórsson were largely abstract, a narrative is present in his graphic works and his interest in literature is also apparent. The exhibition shows a world that often seems obscure but also cute, powerful and rich of ideas, when it comes to the solid cutting into the wood. The artist skillfully manages to convey the atmosphere in the form of simple woodcuttings, where the material and subject matter combine to create an interesting world.