If he had not died on 3 January 2019, Tryggvi Ólafsson, painter, would have turned 80 on 1 June 2020. To celebrate this date, the Tryggvi Ólafsson Art Collection at the Neskaupstaður Museum House set up a summer exhibition entitled Úrval (Selected Works) which was open to visitors daily from 10:00 to 18:00 until the end of August 2020. Besides the magnificent Ólafsson collection, the Museum House contains the Natural History Museum at Neskaupstaður and Jósafat Hinriksson’s Seafaring and Smithy Collection.

Even though he spent most of his artistic career in Copenhagen, Ólafsson maintained strong connections to Neskaupstaður, where he was born and raised. The Tryggvi Ólafsson Art Collection was founded in Neskaupstaður in 2001 and now has between 300 and 400 of his works.

Ólafsson certainly had a remarkable painting career. Not only was he one of Iceland’s pioneers in pop art, but his style is immediately recognisable. He was admired as an artist, and his works remain in demand. Largely ignoring what other people said, he stuck to his plainly unique orientation, even as general trends and styles were undergoing numerous developments.

It was in Reykjavík in 1960, a year before he left to study in the Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, that Ólafsson held his first painting exhibition. As a member of Iceland’s SÚM group, he contributed to its exhibitions from 1969 to 1977. In addition, from 1970 to 1980 he exhibited together with an international group, Den Nordiske, in Denmark, Sweden and Iceland. Finally, he decorated buildings in Denmark and Iceland, as well as illustrating numerous books.

Ólafsson participated in exhibitions in all of the Nordic capitals, as well as farther abroad in Germany, France, England, China, the USA and the Netherlands. A great number of his exhibitions took place in Iceland, including a major retrospective exhibition in the Kópavogur Art Museum (Gerðarsafn) in 2000. Outside of Iceland, 17 Nordic art museums and many in other parts of the globe own paintings by Ólafsson. Recent years have seen exhibitions of his works in Paris, Ísafjörður, and Reykjavík’s Art Gallery Fold, not to mention two extensive retrospective exhibitions – first in Akureyri and then in Nørrebro, Copenhagen – both of which were held in cooperation with the Tryggvi Ólafsson Art Collection, Neskaupstaður.

Everyone is heartily encouraged to visit the Neskaupstaður Museum House and experience Ólafsson’s colourful presentations, as evidenced in Selected Works.