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Listasafn Reykjavíkur / Reykjavik Art Museum

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Decade

Snorri Arinbjarnar

Við Selsvör

Year
Án ártals
Height
65.5 cm
Width
75.5 cm
Category
Málverk
Sub-category
Olíumálverk

Kristín G. Guðnadóttir writes about Snorri Arinbjarnar's work in an exhibition catalogue from 2006: “Artists like Snorri, Gunnlaugur Scheving, Þorvaldur Skúlason and Jón Engilberts placed man and human existence at the centre of their work. They interpreted the life and conditions of the working man in a small town, and other everyday subjects of daily life marked by economic depression, want and unemployment. … Snorri's works from the Depression years do not, however, address work as such or the working man. Rather, they focus on social isolation and lack of communication in the paralysing situation of the Great Depression. The people in his paintings are hazy, like spectres wandering around town without goal or purpose – the town is a frame for the meaningless existence of man. The Depression appears in Snorri's work both as a social and existential condition, the emptiness and the futility are oppressive. His Depression era paintings are in this way distinct from the works of other painters of his generation who dealt with similar subjects.” (Kristín G. Guðnadóttir: Snorri Arinbjarnar: Máttur litarins og spegill tímans (Snorri Arinbjarnar: The Power of Colour and a Mirror of the Time), p. 14). During World War II Snorri started working with new themes “with regard to subject, form and colour palette. In some pieces he is warm, intimate, even romantic in tone. … The vision that met exhibition guests was powerful, consistent and lyrical. His paintings grew larger and simpler in form than before, with warmer, thicker colours and less sense of perspective. … Snorri continued to choose everyday subjects: ships and boats, the docks, the shipyard, houses and city streets; the occasional lorry found its way into his paintings. … [they were] his inspiration to express his experience in shapes, colours and lines.” (Kristín G. Guðnadóttir: ibid., p. 16–17). At Selsvör is an example of this period of Snorri's art. It memorably encapsulates the “quiet life” of ordinary people in the countryside or by the sea, of people whose cherished sons and daughters have left and gone to Reykjavík. Left behind are empty houses, dilapidated boats on the seashore and a lorry without a driver. At the same time the painting is a chromatic and aesthetic experience in its own right.

Other works by artist