Guðmundur frá Miðdal 1895-1963
It is safe to say that Guðmundur Einarsson of Miðdalur was a versatile artist, as he worked in many different media during his career. He studied at Stefán Eiríksson’s drawing school 1911–1913, and in 1916 received lessons in drawing from Þórarinn B. Þorláksson (1867–1924) and in sculpture from Ríkarður Jónsson (1888–1977). In 1917–1919 he made seven sculptures for the Nathan and Olsen building on Pósthússtræti in Reykjavík, having won a competition for the commission – no mean achievement for the young novice artist. The prize money enabled Guðmundur to pursue art training in mainland Europe – initially at the Royal Danish Academy of Art in 1919, and then at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich 1920–1925. He studied sculpture, mural/fresco technique, graphic arts and ceramics, in addition to traditional training in drawing and painting. Guðmundur’s artistic philosophy sprang from the German Heimatkunst (Homeland Art) movement, which he encountered as a student and adapted to Icelandic conditions, cultural heritage and nature, employing national symbols and romantic themes. When the Icelandic Art Exhibition was held at Charlottenborg in 1927, Guðmundur had held three one-man shows in Reykjavík. Most of the pieces he showed at Charlottenborg were prints – probably many of the same works as had been purchased by the National Museum of Iceland in 1923 when the artist was still studying in Munich. These are now in the National Gallery of Iceland collection. Guðmundur was a hugely prolific artist – but that was not all. He was also known for mountain and highland travel, an interest in geology, research on the mineral kingdom, as well as photography, cinematography, hunting and writing.