30th June, 2007

In search of Eiríkur Smith

In my opinion, this is the greatest painting ever created. Well, alright. Not the greatest ever, but I fell in love with it when I saw it nine years ago in the foyer of the Hafnarborg Institute of Culture and Fine Art, in the glorious Icelandic town of Hafnarfjordur near where I used to live.

Morning By The Sea by Eirikur Smith

It is called Morning By The Sea and was painted in 1959 by the very un-Icelandic-sounding Eirikur Smith. I was always aware of Smith’s very unusual house situated high on the hill above the town, and whilst I was lucky enough to meet a few of Iceland’s famous old artists, I never met up with the one I most admired.

Don’t ask why, but rest assured it is very important to me. Yes, I know it echoes the expressionist work of Hans Hoffman, John Hoyland and even my favourite painter ever - the incredible Peter Lanyon -  but I don’t care. It just symbolizes the Iceland that I know in a way nothing else can equal.

Anyway, I won’t bore you all with this any longer, except to say that the original painting is owned by the Hafnarborg, and if recent auctions of the artist’s work are any indication it is probably worth a good half-a-million quid, so I am desperate to get hold of a print (as big as possible) of Morning By The Sea. I have trawled the internet often in search of one, but no joy. If anyone can ever help me find one I’d be delighted to know. Likewise, I can’t seem to find much detail about Smith anywhere, so if anyone knows him I’d also like to arrange to meet him on a future visit.

See, I do still care about art.

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