Iceland’s principal art gallery, located on the banks Reykjavik’s Tjörnin Lake, the National Gallery of Iceland houses a vast collection of 19th and 20th century Icelandic art, alongside works by international artists like Pablo Picasso, Edward Munch, Karel Appel, Victor Vasarely and Richard Serra. The museum’s permanent collection, containing around 10,000 works, is showcased through a series of rotating exhibitions, spread throughout 3 floors of gallery space. Among the highlights are pieces by famed Icelandic artists like Þórarinn B. Þorláksson, Jóhannes Sveinsson Kjarval, Bjarni Jónsson and Einar Hákonarson, along with a variety of modern sculptures, installations and paintings by new and upcoming artists.
Founded in 1884 to house the personal art collection of Icelandic lawyer Björn Bjarnarson, the National Gallery was originally based in Copenhagen, Denmark, and a number of key works by Danish artists like Joakim Skovgaard, Christian Blache and Peter Krøyer nod to its birthplace. Landing on Icelandic shores in 1916, the gallery was adopted as a department of Iceland’s National Heritage Museum, making it the country’s oldest art institution.