Explore Ásgrímsleiðin (Ásgrímur´s Way) in Árnes County, South Iceland
Ásgrímur Jónsson (1876-1958) was one of the pioneers of Icelandic visual art and the first Icelandic painter to make art his primary profession. He was born in 1876 on the farm of Suðurkot in South Iceland. From the outset, Icelandic nature was Ásgrímur’s main subject, and his work formed the foundation of Icelandic landscape art.
There’s a route called Ásgrímur´s Way, which traces the life of Ásgrímur with stops at the LÁ Art Museum, the Árnes County Heritage Museum, and the house where he lived later in life in Reykjavík, which has been converted to a museum. The route is in Árnes County, south of Iceland, taking you from Reykjavík to Hveragerði to Eyrarbakki.
The Listasafn Árnesinga Art Museum in Hveragerði is an art museum that preserves a small modern and contemporary art collection. The foundation gift to the museum includes a collection of works of art by Ásgrímur Jónsson, and is now on display in the anniversary exhibition Cornerstone.
Meanwhile, the Árnessýsla Heritage Museum in Eyrarbakki holds its exhibition in Húsið (The Merchants House) and several surrounding buildings. Húsið is one of Iceland’s oldest houses, built in 1765. It sheds light on his childhood and adolescence. Upon arrival, Ásgrímur went to stay in the Húsið in Eyrarbakki and was not sent to a hut there.
Upon his death in 1958, Ásgrímur donated all his works that remained in his possession to the Icelandic nation, along with his home/art studio in Reykjavík. Now part of the National Gallery of Iceland, the building is open to the public as Home of an Artist, which showcases the life and work of Ásgrímur. The environment of his childhood home strongly influenced him and his artistic creation, and the tour follows that path.
We go through Stokkseyri to Gaulverjabær cemetery, where Ásgrímur rests. You can visit a monument to the artist that stands within the forestry of Timburhólar, not far from his childhood home. Although the houses in Suðurkot have long since disappeared, you can still see Ásgrím’s Elf Church from the road. On this route, you can see the mountain range that nurtured the boy and inspired him.
With the Ásgrímur´s Way, the museums want to draw attention to the life and work of Ásgrím Jónsson but also celebrate the museums’ anniversary. Ásgrímur´s Way is a birthday trilogy about the people of Árnes County.