A guide to Art Galleries in Iceland

Iceland is a truly unique place inspiring creativity in all its forms. The thriving contemporary art scene here is fascinating to discover. In such a small country the hub for the arts scene is of course the cultured capital city of Reykjavik. In this article we take a look at the best places to see art in the capital. From independent artist run art galleries to the venerable National Gallery of Iceland. Reykjavik also boasts many outdoor artworks dotted around the city, including the iconic Sun Voyager sculpture by Jón Gunnar Árnason. There is a lot going on to satisfy culture vultures and art dabblers alike in this progressive city. Here is our guide to the most interesting art galleries in Iceland.

Sun Voyager boat-like sculpture on a plinth next to the ocean. There is lots of art outside of the art galleries in Iceland

Reykjavík Art Museum 

First up has to be the old classic, Reykjavík Art Museum. This museum is in fact three separate art galleries. Each one showcases the work of one or more of the most renowned artists in Iceland. Visitors can buy a one-day ticket that allows access to all three of the galleries. Those under 18 can gain free entry to the exhibits and the galleries are generally open from 10am to 5pm every day. Some opening hours may vary slightly in the winter months, so do double check before visiting.

Reykjavík Art Museum - Kjarvalsstaðir

Jóhannes S. Kjarval is widely considered one of the most influential of the early twentieth century Icelandic artists. This stark modernist gallery is largely dedicated to his work. In his youth Kjarval worked as a fisherman before beginning his training as an artist at the age of 27. He worked in a range of styles but is most noted for his magical landscape paintings of Iceland. Go and see what you think before or after exploring Iceland’s landscapes for yourself.

Reykjavík Art Museum - Ásmundarsafn

This extraordinary building was once the home and studio of artist Asmundur Sveinsson. This renowned sculptor became one of the most established artists in Iceland from a relatively young age. He studied in universities and art schools across Europe and returned to live and work in Iceland in 1929. He designed his own home and studio and donated it, along with many of his sculptures, to the city of Reykjavik after his death in the early 1980s. There is always a permanent collection of his work on display in the main gallery and grounds. Alongside it the gallery shows a changing exhibition of emerging and established Icelandic artists that all have a link back to his work and themes.

Reykjavík Art Museum - Hafnarhús