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Hjálmar Stefánsson

Hjálmar Stefánsson was born at Smyrlaberg in Ásar in East-Húnavatn county, the son of Stefán Jónsson and Guðrún Kristmannsdóttir from Melrakkadalur in West Húnaþing. He lived in Blönduós for most of his life, worked various jobs and took up painting in his later years. Hjálmar’s paintings are spontaneous and not modelled on anything but the natural landscapes that he knew and loved. He never forced these natural subjects into a form of Romantic pastiche but instead depicted them from memory. They possess a childlike quality that bears witness to an active presence; how the weather rattles the landscape, moves it and shapes a new appearance. The paintings have a rough texture that is appropriate for their composition and imbues them with an otherworldly energy that elicits a spontaneous reaction in sensitive viewers. These effects are so potent that the focus turns to them, indicating that something unique is going on and bearing witness to the talents of the artist. Smyrlaberg towers over the farm of the same name where as a child, Hjálmar Stefánsson played with an elf boy. Growing up in such a peculiar world must have had an effect, and his work may indeed contain references to the impressions that shaped his psyche and the talents that he would express so strikingly later in life.