19/11/16 - 05/03/17

About the Exhibition

- Sketches and drawings by designers and artists

An exhibition of a selection of drawings and sketches from the museum collection and from private collections will open on Saturday, November 19th. The pieces displayed provide an idea about the working process of designers and artists when making packaging, advertisements, book covers and of furniture and interior designers from the 1920s until the 1960s.

The exhibition includes works by Jónas Sólmundsson (1905-1983), Jón Kristinsson or Jóndi  (1925-2009), Kristín Þorkelsdóttir (1936), Lothar Grund (1923-1995), Stefán Jónsson (1913-1989) and Sverrir Haraldsson (1930-1985).


Jónas Sólmundsson is one of the pioneers of Icelandic furniture design. After finishing his degree in furniture making from Technical College Reykjavík in 1926, he went to Germany to pursue further studies. The exhibition includes drawings and watercolors from Jónas’ student years in Germany. The style of furniture Jónas drew during this time in Germany is consistent with the period, when modernism was finding its way into furniture design.

Jón Kristinsson farmer and artist, better known as Jóndi in Lambey, worked as an advertising illustrator for Rafskinna for many years, from 1941 when he took over from illustrator Tryggvi Magnússon until 1957 when Rafskinna stopped. The exhibition includes a few advertisements Jóndi drew for newspaper Vísir over a number of years and belong to the museum’s collection.            

Kristín Þorkelsdóttir is one of Iceland’s graphic design pioneers and has had a prolific career and has done most types of graphic design. Screen advertisements in movie theatres were done by hand in the early 1960s just like the collages Kristín gave the Museum and are part of this exhibition. Kristín was just about the only commercial designer that used this color medium at the time.

Lothar Grund scenic painter and artist was born in Schwerin in Germany. With time, Lothar’s name has been largely forgotten in connection to his works that still remain in our surroundings, namely parts of the interiors of Hotel Saga, various bars in the building and wall and ceiling decorations. He also drew advertisements, for example for Stálhúsgögn and Loftleiðir and designed changes to the buildings of the Independence Party at Austurvöllur and the Theatre Cellar. Examples from these projects by Lothar will be part of the exhibition.

Stefán Jónsson advertising illustrator and architect was one of Iceland’s pioneering commercial designers.  He was a productive advertising illustrator from 1937-1956, drew many advertisements, labels and posters and last but not least a number of stamps. Stefán used various styles in his works and chose a style in accordance with each project. The exhibition includes both imagery of direct propaganda and romanticism used to strengthen national pride and unity.  

Sverrir Haraldsson painter is a well known visual artist but for two years, in the mid 1960s, he did very little painting and focused solely on design-related projects, a lesser-known period of Sverrir’s career. The exhibition includes book covers, color suggestions for cars and packaging design, all done in the abstract style. Sverrir’s family recently gave the museum a large collection of his works and a selection from the collection is included in this exhibition.


Exhibition committee (selection of works and texts): Ástríður Magnúsdóttir, Harpa Þórsdóttir, Þóra Sigurbjörnsdóttir

Exhibition design: Helgi Már Kristinsson

Mounting team: Helgi Már Kristinsson, Ástþór Helgason

Translation: Guðrún Baldvina Sævarsdóttir

Graphic design: Ámundi

Printing: Tvíbjörn, Litróf


Photo: Jónas Sólmundsson’s watercolor of bedroom furniture, ca. 1929.