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Listasafn Reykjavíkur / Reykjavik Art Museum

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Jóhannes S. Kjarval

Úr Gálgahrauni

Year
1960
Height
104 cm
Width
213 cm
Category
Málverk
Sub-category
Olíumálverk

Around 1945 Kjarval started to frequent the Gálgahraun lava field on the Álftanes headland south of Reykjavík. He went there often in the subsequent two decades and painted a number of pieces there. In the Gálgahraun paintings Kjarval emphasises the bareness of the lava and the diverse craggy shapes to be found there, decorated with low-growing vegetation. The occasional strange lava formations also became the subject of his art. He apparently had a favourite location where he painted a number of pieces. His main subject from this perspective is a rather flat lava rock and its surroundings, while in the foreground there is often a pointed lava formation. His depiction of subjects from Gálgahraun in this period is highly diverse. Prominent are examples where the artist uses the imagery of Cubism, deconstructs the forms of the earth and interprets the myriad nuances of colour hidden in mosses and rocks. In From Gálgahraun Lava Field from about 1960 we see something entirely new. The piece is a chaotic integration of landscape and beings, all pulsating with unexpected life; spirits abound and faces gaze from the rocks. The paintings from Gálgahraun reflect Kjarval's sensitivity to his surroundings and his talent for seeing and experiencing beauty and the diversity of nature in a place where most would only see a stark black field of lava.

Other works by artist