Monday, May 3, 2010

(Social) Realism: Iceland

Þórarinn B. Þorláksson (1867 – 1924)

Þórarinn B. Þorláksson (February 14, 1867 – July 10, 1924) was one of Iceland's first contemporary painters, the first Icelander to exhibit paintings in Iceland, and recipient of the first public grant that country made to a painter. Þorláksson was born in 1867, the 13th of 14 children of a clergyman father, who died when Þorláksson was just five years old. Originally trained and working as a bookbinder, Þorláksson studied painting under a Copenhagen-trained Icelandic woman, Thóra Thoroddsen. In 1900 he was awarded a grant by the Icelandic Parliament to study art in Denmark, and he trained there from 1895 to 1899. Returning to Iceland, he held an exhibition of his works at a place perplexingly called Glasgow, in Reykjavík, in the summer of 1900—the first exhibition of Icelandic painting in Iceland. Þorláksson's principal interest was landscape painting, and perhaps fittingly a dominant subject in this first exhibition of works was Þingvellir, a site of enormous historical significance to Icelanders as the site of their parliaments (which dated back to 930 AD).

Guðmundur Pétursson Thorsteinsson or Muggur (1891 - 1924)
Guðmundur Pétursson Thorsteinsson or Muggur (September 5, 1891 - July 26, 1924) was an Icelandic artist and film actor. He worked with watercolours, oil, charcoal and collages. Among his best known works are the collage Seventh Day in Paradise and the children's book Dimmalimm. He played the lead role in Borgslægtens Historie which was shot in Iceland in 1919. He died from tuberculosis.

Carrying Coal, 1919

World (Social) Realist Art (Index of Countries)
This blog page is part of an ongoing project by artist and part-time lecturer Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin ( to explore Realist / Social Realist art from around the world. The term Realism is used in its broadest sense to include 19th century Realism and Naturalism as well as 20th century Impressionism (which after all was following in the path of Courbet and Millet). Social Realism covers art that seeks to examine the living and working conditions of ordinary people (examples include German Expressionism, American Ashcan School and the Mexican Muralists).

Click here for (Social) Realist Art Definitions, World (Social) Realism and Global Solidarity, Art and Politics, Social Realism in history and Country Index.

Suggestions for appropriate artists from around the world welcome to

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