Group exhibition

17.6.2024 — 25.8.2024

The House of Collections

The National Gallery of Iceland commemorates the 80th anniversary of the enactment of the constitution of the new Republic of Iceland, which took place on 17 June 1944, by considering the image of the national flag.

Flags are symbols that play a variety of roles. National flags stand for a country and its people. The national flag of Iceland was authorised by the King of Denmark and Iceland in 1915, three years before Iceland became a sovereign nation after centuries of Danish rule.

The flags on view in the House of Collections Special Exhibitions Gallery come from the holdings of the National Gallery of Iceland, with additional loans from the National Museum and the Living Art Museum. The diverse group of works range from  paper flags; invisible flags; flags knitted in wool in natural, earthy tones; and paintings. The two oldest artworks in the exhibition are by Þórarinn B. Þorláksson (1867-1924): a painting of the Flag Committee that considered proposals for Iceland’s flag, and another of Parliament House with the Icelandic flag flying. The most recent work in the exhibition is by the Polish artist Wiola Ujazdowska: a flag proposed as a symbol of solidarity among foreign workers living in Iceland.

Also included in the exhibition is an archaeological find from East Iceland, unearthed in 2022 and dating back to the settlement period, possibly as early as the 10th century. It is a small bead bearing the colors of the future nation’s flag.

It is interesting to observe how artists have addressed the subject of the Icelandic flag over the years, sometimes in a solemn, grand manner, as in Þórarinn’s works, while others take a sceptical view of Icelandic national pride.



17.6.2024 25.8.2024


Ásgrímur Jónsson

Daði Guðbjörnsson

Daníel Magnússon

Jóhannes Kjarval

Snorri Ásmundsson

Unnar Örn Auðarson

Wiola Ujazdowska

Þórarinn B. Þorláksson

Örn Ingi Gíslason

Treasures of Icelandic Art

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