Ruth Smith and Júlíana Sveinsdóttir
100 years ago, women were given the right to vote in Iceland, on the Faroe Islands and in Denmark. To mark the occasion, Reykjavík Art Museum, the National Art Gallery of the Faroe Islands and Nordatlantens Brygge have collaborated to present an exhibition of the works of two female artists: Júlíana Sveinsdóttir from Iceland (1889-1966) and Ruth Smith from the Faroe Islands (1913-1958).
Both artists grew up in bleak, windswept island environments: in Heimaey in the Vestmannaeyjar Islands and Suderø in the Faroe Islands. They were two of the first professional female artists in their respective home countries, where painting in the early 20th century was in its infancy. Both studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Art in Copenhagen.
Both of them portrayed the nature of their home countries with a profound sense of colour and of the enormous power of nature in the eternal struggle between land and sea. Even though they lived from time to time in Denmark, they still preferred to paint island landscapes.
The exhibition provides an insight into the capacity of these two artists, not only to interpret landscape, but also to paint portraits both of themselves and of their contemporaries. What both artists had in common was their devotion to the self-portrait, where they hid nothing: neither melancholy nor old age.
The exhibition has been organised in collaboration with Reykjavík Art Museum, the National Gallery of the Faroe Islands and supported by the Nordic Culture Fund.
Curator: Hrafnhildur Schram.