Kristjan Davidsson - untitled

Artist Biography


Kristjan Davidsson was an Icelandic painter who lived in Reykjavik for most of his life. He studied art under Finnur Jonsson and Johann Briem between 1932-36. His horizons were widened when from 1945-47 a scholarship took him to the Barnes Foundation in Pennsylvania, USA. He also studied at the University of Pennsylvania from 1946-47. Davidsson was a co-founder of the September Group in 1947 and in 1949 spent a number of months in Paris and London absorbing the latest artistic trends.

Having begun painting in a somewhat naive style, Davidsson moved towards Taschism in the 1950s and then a form of colourful gestural painting in the 1960s. He took part in exhibitions of young Icelandic artists from 1945-51 and mixed exhibitions at the Richard Demarco Gallery in Edinburgh in 1965 and 1966. Demarco also gave Davidsson a solo show in 1966.

Probably the peak of Davidsson’s artistic recognition came in 1984 when he represented Iceland with a one man exhibition at its first ever solely Icelandic pavilion at the Venice Biennale. He was one of three Icelandic artists representing different generations in the exhibition ‘Iceland on the Edge: Magicians of Nature’ at the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels in 2008 and his work was included in 2017’s ‘The Icelandic Connection’ at Copenhagen Art Museum.

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