Einar Jónsson was one of Iceland's first major sculptors, laying the groundwork for much Icelandic sculpture to come with his Outlaws, exhibited in Copenhagen in 1901. In 1909, he offered his works as a gift to the Icelandic people, on the condition that a gallery would be built to display them. The location he chose was Skolavorduhaed, a 'desolate hill on the outskirts of town' towering above Reykjavík. Jónsson and the architect Einar Erlendsson intended that the museum should impose itself on the landscape as a monumental expression of Icelandic sculpture: today it stands as perhaps the completest example of Jónsson's sculptural vision.
Completed in 1923, the Einar Jónsson museum became Iceland's first art museum, and Jónsson and his wife, Anne Marie, moved into an apartment in one of Iceland's first penthouse apartments, at the top of the building. Today, just as when it opened, visitors can explore the full range of Jónsson's sculpture, including his monumental bronzes displayed in the purpose-built sculpture garden. The artist's former apartment is also open to the public, and offers an insight into the life and working methods of Iceland's premier sculptor.
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