• 8.3.2019 - 12.5.2019, Listasafn Íslands


The word benefactor is rarely heard in discussion of the collections of art museums. Yet in the history of their work benefactors have frequently played a part, and their contributions are an integral factor in the story of how the National Gallery of Iceland collection has been acquired. Amalie Engilberts was one of the National Gallery's many benefactors. The daughter of artist Jón Engilberts and his wife Tove, she was born in Denmark in 1934 and died in Iceland in December 2007. Amalie, known as Amy, was a popular fortune-teller in Iceland, and for many years she explored the occult. She has been described as a well-read cosmopolitan.

At her death Amy generously left a bequest to the National Gallery of Iceland to fund the purchase of new works of art for the collection. The Gallery has received bequests before, but this was the first intended for methodical additions to the collection. The bequest was subject to certain conditions on how it was to be spent: for the purchase of new Icelandic art for the next ten years, followed by an exhibition of those works. In this way Amy sought to honour her father's memory.

The works purchased over the past ten years by the National Gallery Procurement Committee, financed by Amy's bequest, reflect the diversity seen in the work of artists working today. A number of Procurement Committees have been involved in selection of works for purchase, and this collection of art presents an interesting cross-section of artists, some of whom have been active longer than others.

The exhibition comprises works by the following artists:

Bjarki Bragason, Brynhildur Þorgeirsdóttir, Eygló Harðardóttir, Guðmundur Thoroddsen, Helgi Þórsson, Hildigunnur Birgisdóttir, Hulda Vilhjálmsdóttir, Jeannette Castioni, Jón Axel Björnsson, Magnús Helgason, Pétur Thomsen, Sigga Björg Sigurðardóttir og Þórdís Aðalsteinsdóttir. 

Photo: Hulda Vilhjálmsdóttir, A woman performing gracefully, 2001.