Temporary Exhibitions

Drawing for the Nation

The visual world of Halldór Pétursson

Artist Halldór Pétursson (1916-1977) drew his way into the heart of the Icelandic nation in a unique way. During his heyday, which lasted many decades, his works were omnipresent in Icelandic society.

Halldór Pétursson illustrated innumerable books, drew covers for popular periodicals, designed stamps and banknotes. He drew both urban and rural Iceland, and the animals and people of the country, with great passion and insight. He created a visual world which spoke straight to the Icelandic heart. A world full of strong and colourful characters, often with a touch of humour and a glance at the past. To his contemporaries he was best known for his drawings of horses, and cartoons for the periodical Spegillinn. Probably the most enduring of his works are his illustrations to Vísnabókin, a classic collection of verse for children; first published in 1946, it is still in print. Halldór studied in Denmark and the USA, and was one of the founders of the Associating of Icelandic Graphic Designers, FÍT.

This retrospective of Halldór‘s work provides insight into his versatility as an artist. On display are drawings, sketches and completed works from his boyhood until the end of his life. In 2017 Halldór‘s children presented his archive of drawings to the National Musuem of Iceland for conservation. That collection has provided many of the pieces in the exhibition, while others have been loaned by various bodies in Iceland.