Listasafn Reykjavíkur / Reykjavik Art Museum

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Gunnlaugur Blöndal

Stúlka með greiðu

Year
1937
Height
74 cm
Width
60 cm
Category
Málverk
Sub-category
Olíumálverk

In his art history, Björn Th. Björnsson writes about Gunnlaugur Blöndal: “[His] intention is not at all to interpret life, reality. He uses portraits only as a romantic theme, the makings of beauty, whose resonance is in fact in a totally different sphere of life... I refer not least to his paintings of women, many of which are undeniable masterpieces, replete with serenity and deep, lyrical delight.” (Björn Th. Björnsson: Íslenzk myndlist á 19. og 20. öld (Icelandic Art in the 19th and 20th centuries) I, p. 188). Thanks to colour prints of Young Woman with a Comb mass-produced by the Helgafell publishing house, the painting immediately became nationally popular. Æsa Sigurjónsdóttir writes: “It is interesting that [the artist] deviates from a traditional, vertical portrait format and uses a horizontal format to get closer to the subject, so that the woman's body fills the picture plane. By using this perspective he moves the subject into modernity, narrows the frame like a photographer – the girl is looking down, light falling on her breasts” (p. 33). Björn Th. Björnsson describes the painting: “The subject is confined as much as possible; … the left arm, held up behind the head, is cut off the picture plane, as is the right elbow of the hand in which she holds the comb. No trivial element is introduced into the painting, and in addition the focus is more on the mood of the girl and her action than of any specific details in her appearance. The painting depicts the calm grace of a young woman alone and at peace … For her flesh he uses two contrasting palettes, greens on the one hand, and warm yellow and red tones on the other. In order to fix them and to bind the fragmented brushwork into complete shapes, whole forms, he divides the base colour into a muted red on the left, and deep green on the right. Thus he achieves at once the restfulness of analogous colours and their interaction, the complementary colours bonding them together, illuminating them and at the same time accentuating them” (Björn Th. Björnsson: Íslenzk myndlist á 19. og 20. öld (Icelandic Art in the 19th and 20th Centuries) I, p. 191).

Other works by artist