Friday, January 15, 2016

Iceland 2015
Icelandic Art VI – The Tentative Emergence of an Avant-Garde

ISSUE DATE: 5 October 2015
STAMP SIZE: 40 x 30 mm
 STAMP DESIGN: Hlynur Ólafsson

In the decade leading up to the nationalist Althing celebration at Thingvellir in 1930, cultural arbiters encouraged Icelandic artists to continue bolstering „national pride“ by mining the landscape and mythology for „appropriate“ and „uplifting“ subject matter. At the same time improved economic conditions enabled Icelandic artists to travel and study abroad to a greater extent than ever before, thus being able to follow exciting developments in foreign art in some of the great cities of Europe. Only one of the avant-gardists experimenters, Finnur
Jónsson (1892-1993), was tempted to exhibit his work in Iceland to a mostly hostile reception. The earliest attempt at avant-gardist art was made in c. 1913-15 by Baldvin Björnsson (1879-1945) who sought to amalgamate abstraction and Expressionist imagery. During his years in Copenhagen, 1913-19, Jóhannes Kjarval (1885-1972) was greatly influenced by the city`s lively art scene. Ingibjörg Stein Bjarnason (1901-1977) was an astute and cosmopolitan artist who formed a part of the so-called Cercle et Carré group in Paris in the early 1930s. Most of her early paintings have been lost, but those that have been preserved are without doubt the first works in a non-objective style produced by an Icelandic artist.

Stamp images thanks to Iceland Post