Einar Jónsson was Iceland’s first sculptor. He attended the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen from 1896-99. He was a groundbreaking figure in Icelandic sculpture and his influence on the visual arts in Iceland has been considerable. Jónsson laid the foundation for Icelandic sculpture with his first publicly exhibited work, "Outlaws," which was shown at the Spring Salon in Copenhagen in 1901.
In 1909, Einar Jónsson offered all of his works as a gift to the Icelandic people on the condition that a museum be built to house them. This gift was not accepted by the Icelandic Parliament until 1914, however. The Parliament contributed 10,000 crowns to the construction of the museum, while a national collection yielded 20,000 crowns in private donations.
The museum was built according to a plan by the artist himself and it may be said that the museum itself, the building is his biggest sculpture. The museum building is indisputably the work of Jónsson, although it was the architect Einar Erlendsson who officially signed the plans for the museum in June 1916, the same year the foundation of the museum was laid.The Einar Jónsson Museum was officially opened on Midsummer's Day in 1923. This was a watershed event for Icelandic art, as the building was the country's first art museum.