Eiríkur Smith 1925-2016
Eiríkur Smith was one of the pioneers of the geometric abstract in Iceland; he painted on geometric-abstract principles from the early 1950s, while in the 1960s he turned to lyrical abstract expressionism. Although his works are abstract, they express a sense of nature, and are inspired by direct experience of the manifold colours and light variations in nature. From the end of the 1960s he mainly addressed the relationship between humanity and nature in his art. Eiríkur Smith studied at the Reykjavík College of Crafts 1946–50, then went to Copenhagen to study under Peter Rostrup Bøyesen. The main focus of the training was on making drawings of Greek statues, and Eiríkur was of the view that this approach taught him to think on a large scale in his paintings, without neglecting the small details. He applied this training when he started to paint larger works in Iceland. Eiríkur also spent time in Paris, like other young Icelandic artists in the early 1950s. At that time Paris was the world’s hotbed of the geometric abstract, and the Icelandic artists took the new artistic trend back to Iceland with them. In 1957 Eiríkur turned his back on the geometric abstract, burning some of his works in order to mark a new beginning with more emphasis on the lyrical abstract.