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"Louisa Matthiasdottir: A Retrospective"
2004-09-21 until 2004-11-23
Scandinavia House
New York, NY, USA United States of America

This exhibition presents more than 100 oil paintings and works on paper by an artist acclaimed in both her native Iceland and her adopted home in the U.S. The first retrospective of Matthiasdottir's work on this scale, the exhibition spans the complete 60 years of the artist's career and includes works never before exhibited. Organized by The American-Scandinavian Foundation in cooperation with the family of Louisa Matthiasdottir, the exhibition includes paintings from museums and private collections in the U.S. and abroad. Born in Reykjavik, Iceland, Matthiasdottir (1917-2000) established herself on the New York art scene in the 1940s and became a member of the Jane Street Gallery, one of the earliest artists' cooperatives.

She drew motifs from both of the countries she had called home to express an intensely personal vision. With broad brushstrokes, sweeping gestures, and vibrant color, Matthíasdóttir simplified the images she saw, yet imbued them with the air of heightened realism that was the hallmark of her work. In her kitchen still lifes, portraits and self-portraits, and distinctive Icelandic landscapes, the solid figures and forms create a sense of monumentality through their rich, flat color planes. Poet and art critic John Ashbery noted the "cold Nordic colors" and "prismatic air" of her paintings and admired the "bold, chromatic planes defined just enough to be constructed as a landscape."

A complete exhibition catalogue will be published with essays by art critic Nicholas Fox Weber; Pétrún Pétursdóttir, Director of Hafnarborg, Institute of Culture and Fine Art, in Iceland; and artist Temma Bell, Louisa Matthíasdóttir's daughter.


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