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Icelandic Outsider Art I

The story of Icelandic art is relatively short, but it is surprisingly diverse. Not long ago a new side to that story was brought to light, namely the art of self-taught individuals, so-called naive or outsider artists. In Iceland this art manifests itself as an extension of a strong vernacular narrative tradition. This kind of art can neither be taught nor learned, and it does not coalesce into a tradition in the ordinary sense. The oldest of these Icelandic naive artists is Sölvi Helgason (1820-1895), a vagabond, who paid farmers for board and lodging with colourful „portraits“ of his hosts. Ísleifur Konráðsson (1889-1972) began to paint pictures of great charm featuring the landscapes of his youth. Karl Dunganon (1897-1972) turned his life experiences into pictures with dream-like or terrifying imagery. Sigurlaug Jónasdóttir (1913-2004) began to paint narrative pictures of life in the west coast islands, where she hails from.