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Gunnlaugur Scheving

Gamla búðin í Grindavík

Year
1961
Height
130 cm
Width
145 cm
Category
Málverk
Sub-category
Olíumálverk

Gunnlaugur Scheving stayed from time to time in Grindavík between 1939–47. At first he went there as a guest of composer/physician Sigvaldi Kaldalóns, and later he would visit on his own. In his essay on the painter, Gunnar J. Árnason wrote: “It is no exaggeration to say that Gunnlaugur was reborn as an artist in Grindavík and a new period began in his art. In Grindavík he found not only new inspiration for his art, but also a safe and worry-free environment amongst people who were artistic and favourable toward his work” (Gunnar J. Árnason: Gunnlaugur Scheving: Yfirlitssýning / Retrospective, p. 24). Gunnlaugur had painted one old Reykjavík store previously, The Store (1931; Íslandsbanki bank collection). In 1940–41 he painted two pictures of shops in Grindavík, one of which belongs to the ASÍ art museum, the other to the University of Iceland Art Collection. There are some early versions of these pieces, in watercolours or pastels, but the third version of the subject, the largest and most colourful (130 x 145 cm), was painted much later by Gunnlaugur, in 1960–61. This version was acquired by the City of Reykjavík. The older two versions are similar in appearance and technique, showing a long counter stretching directly across the bottom of the picture plane, where customers and a shop assistant stand. From the cross beams hang assorted utensils, and in the background is a red door, and a window onto the street. The 1960–61 painting is more elaborate – perhaps the store has grown larger in memory – and depicts both the solitary female customer and the shop assistants from a different viewpoint.

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