Grasping the Essence

Mats Gustafson

7.2.2020 — 30.8.2020

National Gallery of Iceland

Swedish artist Mats Gustafson has a special feeling for the transient nature of watercolour. In the late 1970s he embarked on a career as an international fashion illustrator, and eventually made his breakthrough on the art scene. Gustafson moves deftly back and forth between fashion, nature and life studies.





7.2.2020 30.8.2020

Project Manager of exhibitions

Júlía Marinósdóttir


Mikael Olsson (Sag Harbor Studio)


Kristian Berglund

Texts supervision

Harpa Þórsdóttir

His subject matter may seem simple: conifers and rocks in landscapes, deer, lined faces, couture fashion and nudes. It is all about capturing beauty in its many forms. Gustafson's art is both elegant and subtle. His brushstrokes are precise, leaving no room for error. Light and shadow are rhythmically distributed on the paper. Colours meld to form volume.

The exhibition includes all Gustafson's best-known works made with fashion houses such as Christian Dior, Comme des garçons, Yohji Yamamoto, Romeo Gigli and Yves Saint Laurent, for magazines including Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. The exhibition also throws light on the artist's watercolour series of nature, nudity, and portraits of his contemporaries.

The exhibition has been prepared in close collaboration with the Nordic Watercolour Museum in Sweden.

Mats Gustafson was born in 1951. He lives and works in New York.

26.2.2022 — 19.6.2022

Treasures of Icelandic Art

The museum is open every day from 10AM — 5PM. Closed on Mondays during winter (1.10 — 30.4)