The National Gallery of Iceland (Listasafn Islands) is a well-known landmark by the Tjornin lake in Reykjavik. It was originally built in the early 20th century as an ice house, but today it houses Iceland’s largest art museum. The National Gallery includes several exhibition halls on three floors and a gift shop. 

The museum’s main emphasis is on 19th and 20th century Icelandic art, but it also features international art. New exhibitions open regularly, highlighting the best of Icelandic contemporary art as well as Icelandic art history. The gallery shop sells books in English about Icelandic art, as well as a range of gifts and souvenirs, and a comfortable café welcomes guests. Admission to the National Gallery includes two more museums, which display the works of painter Asgrimur Jonsson and sculptor Sigurjon Olafsson.

The museum was originally founded in 1884 in Copenhagen, Denmark by an Icelander, Bjorn Bjarnason.  The museum operated independently until 1916 when Althingi (the Icelandic Parliament) decided to make it a department in the National Heritage Museum. In 1987, the National Gallery collection moved to its present location in Reykjavik.

International art

The museum owns the most valuable collection of works by Icelandic artists in the country. In addition, it also has works from renowned artists such as Pablo Picasso, Edward Munch, Karol Appel, Hans Hartung, Victor Vasarely, Richard Serra and Richard Tuttle.

The National Gallery of Iceland regularly holds colorful exhibitions reflecting its collection. The National Gallery of Iceland also hosts exhibitions by individual artists, Icelandic as well as foreign ones. The gallery’s extensive publication of quality books, catalogs, posters and post-cards compliments these exhibitions.

Opening hours of the National Gallery of Iceland

September 16 – May 14:  Tuesday – Sunday, 1oam – 17 (5pm)

May 15 – September 15: Daily 1oam – 17 (5pm)

GPS: 64.144142 N, -21.939358 W