The beauty of Hafnarfjörður is not only appreciated by the people of the town, as artists from all over have long looked for inspiration in the nature and community of Hafnarfjörður, the Town in the Lava. In the Hafnarborg Collection, there are numerous works portraying the town and the surrounding area, the oldest being from the first half of the 20th century. Now, we take a look at this treasure trove to offer a view of the town as it appears in the artworks of the last century. That is to say, the town as it was seen through the eyes of artists, including several of the masters of Icelandic art. Their approach to this subject is, for the most part, traditional and figurative, allowing us to recognize the locations and place ourselves within the frame.
Hafnarfjörður is a picturesque town, surrounded by nature and grand vistas. Not counting Reykjavík, it can be said that few towns in Iceland have been depicted in as many artworks as Hafnarfjörður. A great number of the works exhibited come from the Founding Collection of Sverrir Magnússon and Ingibjörg Sigurjónsdóttir, who ran a pharmacy in the old building of Hafnarborg for decades. In the last couple of years, some of these works have decorated the walls of the meeting hall of the Town Council of Hafnarfjörður.
The Hafnarborg Collection includes many additional artworks that represent the town, which can be found hanging in the town’s offices and other institutions, where they brighten up people’s work environment. These include works by local artists such as Sveinn Björnsson and Gunnlaugur Stefán Gíslason. In recent years, Hafnarborg has sought to shed light on contemporary artists’ view of the town, dedicating special exhibitions to the subject, but here we get a chance to look back and reflect on the work of previous generations of artists depicting this harbour town and its surroundings.
The exhibition features works by artists Nína Tryggvadóttir, Hörður Ágústsson, Jóhannes Kjarval, Jón Gunnarsson, Greta Björnsson and Jón Engilberts, among others.