Bloggfćrslur mánađarins, mars 2017

Brotasilfur - óáfalliđ

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Í ţessari fćrslu má sjá tvćr stórmerkar ljósmyndir sem finna má á vef Hérađsskjalasafns Austurlands. Hér borgar Kristján Eldjárn yfir silfursjóđ sem fannst austur a landi, óáfallinn, áriđ 1980. Eldjárn ţótti vitaskuld, sem eins konar fornleifafrćđingi, furđulegt ađ sjóđurinn kćmi óáfallinn úr jörđu. Ţađ ţykir flestum reyndar enn í dag. Ég held ađ menn séu hćttir ađ leita ađ skýringum. Ţađ er svo óţćgilegt.

Hér má lesa ađrar greinar Fornleifs um ţennan sjóđ:

Det ville som sagt vćre meget beklageligt for skandinavisk arkćologi... (2011) Greinin er ekki á dönsku.

Hvar er húfan mín? (11.12. 2012; sjá síđustu athugasemd neđst)

"Miklu betri en Silvo" (16.12.2012)

Moldin milda frá Miđhúsum er horfin (4.1.2013)

Hvađ fćr mađur fyrir silfur sitt ?  (13.4.2013) Í ţessari grein birtist eftirfarandi frásögn:

Auđun H. Einarsson segir frá (1.5. 1997, sjá fćrslu dags. 13.4.2013)

 

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Neđri myndin af vef Hérađssafns Austurlands er unađsleg ljósmynd af finnandanum og syni hans. Gleđin skín úr augum ţeirra. Ekki ţótti finnandanum fundarlaunin góđ, en síđar var bćtt úr ţví fyrir tilstuđlan ţingmanns eins frá Snćfellsnesi og skálds í Reykjavík.


They are back!

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According to the Icelandic press (links a; b; c and d) the new British Ambassador to Iceland, Michael Nevin, twitted about a large yellow casket which he recently received from London. Yesterday Mr. Nevin revealed to the Icelandic public the contents of the big box. In the casked were two oil paintings from 1790 with Icelandic motifs.

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The yellow box containing the two paintings has arrived under the curious eyes of Jón Stefánsson Milkmaid (1921). The photography on the Edwardian dresser is of Ambassador Nevin after having delivered his Diplomatic credentials to the Icelandic president Guđni Th. Jóhannesson.

The two paintings, used to hang in the British Embassy in Reykjavík, but were sent to London some 10 years ago for repair at the Government Art Collection GAC (not the National Gallery like the Icelandic media reported). Before they were returned to Reykjavík last week, they went on exhibition in the Whitechapel Gallery in London, as well as in Birmingham and Ulster. For a while, the painting ornated the walls of the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, at Nobel House, Smith Square in London. But now they are back "home", where they are appreciated more than at an odd meeting on Fine British food and rural affairs, i.e. The Naked Cook and River Cottege.

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GAC 4822: The New Geyser, (Icel. Strokkur) a geysir which awoke after an earthquake in 1789. It lost its power in 1896 to reawake in 1963.

edward_dayes_by_edward_dayes.jpgThe Paintings, showing the famous Icelandic hydrothermal feature Geysir as well as Strokkur in Haukadalur S-Iceland, are entitled The Great Geyser (GAC 4821)and The New Geyser (GAC 4822). They were painted by Edward Dayes (1763-1804), seen here to the left, who was a well known London artist albeit mostly known for his watercolours.

In May 1789, encouraged by the naturalist and patron of science Joseph Banks, John Thomas Stanley (later first Baron Stanley of Alderley) set off from Leith on an expedition to Iceland. His intention was to research the island with his team of 26 experts and assistants. He returned with a collection of dried plants and numerous sketches drawn by Stanley himself or by other crew members. Edward Dayes and Nicholas Pocock were then commissioned to prepare completed drawings and etchings from these amateur studies. Both of the paintings that have now been returned to the UK embassy in Reykjavík base on sketches by the Stanley-expedition skilful draftsmen, and are quite similar to stone-prints made from the same drawings (see below). (See here for more information on Forleifur about Stanley in Iceland)

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large_1991_0104_0002_thumb.jpgIn 1958 the paintings were bought at a Christie's auction in London from a private collection. They were were bought by Frank T. Sabin Art Dealers in Shaftesbury Avenue,  London for the Ministry of Works. After the auction in November 1958 they were listed by the British government Art Collection as:

'The Property of a Nobleman'; by whom sold through Christie's, London, 'Pictures by Old Masters' sale, on 28 November 1958

(Lot 97), as 'The Great Geyser' and 'The New Geyser, Iceland'.

Let us hope that the paintings will hang in the British Embassy in Reykjavík for a long time to come. They are such an important source to Icelandic life in the late 18th century, in an age when Iceland hardly had a painter, except for the autistic Sćmundur Hólm (see here and here in Icelandic), who drew or painted fictive Icelandic motifs which he sold to Danish patrons. Later this year, I hope to take a closer look at the two paintings in the British Embassy in Reykjavík, if I may.

Here are some interesting details from two of the two paintings just returned back 'home': Have a look at the fantastic brass quadrant with a small telescope, fixed on a tripod. They don't make instruments like that anymore.

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Thanks: The author would like to thank Andrew Parratt, curator at the GAC in London, for helpful information.

Vilhjálmur Örn Vilhjálmsson, March 2017.


Njósnarar og dátar í stórborginni - hvađ annađ?

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Heljarmenniđ Egill Helgason er alltaf ađ pćla eitthvađ í óttalegri fáfrćđi sinni, en vill ţó helst alltaf hafa á réttu ađ standa. Nú brá svo viđ um daginn ađ hann vissi í ţađ sinn ekki svariđ viđ spurningu sinni. Slíkt kemur óvenju sjaldan fyrir Egil (sjá hér).

Egill vildi láta segja sér hvađa dularfulli mađur gekk inn í mynd af ţýskum dátum fyrir utan Hótel Borg áriđ 1934. Besta tillagan sem borist hefur Agli er ađ ţađ hafi veriđ skákmađurinn Ásmundur Ásgeirsson, sem ţó var aldrei eins hávaxinn og mađurinn sem gekk aftan viđ ţýsku dátana áriđ 1934.

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Frank le Sage de Fonteney um 1920, ekki ósvipađur manninum á myndinni frá 1934 - eđa spćjara í síđari tíma 007 kvikmyndum.

Ég fór ađ hugsa máliđ, sem ég get ekki upplýst Egil Helgason um, ţví hann hefur síđan 2005, er hann fór međ dónaskap og ósóma um mig á Silfrinu meinađ mér ađ gera athugasemdir hjá sér.

Ekki Ásmundur skákmađur

Ţetta er öruggleg ekki Ásmundur Ásgeirsson, hugsađi ég međ mér, en hugsanlega Frank le Sage de Fonteney sendiherra Dana á Íslandi, sem var mjög hávaxinn mađur. Hann hafđi töluverđar áhyggjur af veru Ţjóđverja á Íslandi og sendi margar skýrslur til Kaupmannahafnar um ţađ. Honum var ţó örlítiđ í blóđ boriđ ađ dramatísera hlutina. Var Frank kvćntur Guđrúnu Eiríksdóttur, sem áđur hafđi veriđ gift dönskum manni, Tage Mřller, og átti međ honum Birgi síđar ráđuneytisstjóra.

Einnig er til í dćminu, ađ Frank sendiherra hafi veriđ ţarna staddur til ađ njóta góđa veđursins á einum mesta menningarpunkti heimsţorpsins sem hann var sendiherra í. En viđ nánari eftirgrennslan er ég nćr viss um ađ ţarna spígspori sendiherrann ekki, ţví Frank var 54 ára áriđ 1934 og miklu karlalegri en mađurinn á myndinni. Međ ţví ađ skođa skó kauđa sá ég strax ađ hann er í sams konar skóm og dátarnir. Ţess vegna tel ég líklegra ađ sá hávaxni hafi veriđ skipverji á Kreuzer Leipzig, hugsanlega yfirmađur, sem fengiđ hefur ađ fara í bćinn óeinkennisklćddur.

Var hann njósnari? Hvađ var svo sem ađ njósna um áriđ 1934? Mikilvćgi Íslands kom ekki fyrr en međ NATÓ.

Ég á reyndar til afrit af sumum bréfum sendiherrans Frank le Sage de Fonteney um Ţjóđverja til yfirvalda í Kaupmannahöfn og ekki er laust viđ ađ sendiherrann af greifaćttunum hafi veriđ dálítill spćjari, ţegar hann var ekki í útreiđartúr međ íslenskum hrossapröngurum. Hér má lesa meira um hollenska ljósmyndarann Wim van de Poll og samferđakonu hans Anitu Joachim.

Danski sendiherrann var reyndar líka fyrir utan Hótel Borg

Til upplýsingar Agli og öđrum má greina frá ţví ađ til er önnur mynd af dátunum frá Kreuzer Leipzig, ţar sem ţeir koma úr suđurátt og hafa ţá líklega veriđ búnir ađ hrista Frank sendiherra af sér og gefa öndunum. Kannski fór Frank inn á Borg og fékk sér kaffi og líkjör. En ţar sem Egill hafđi myndina sem hann birti á Silfrinu í sl. viku úr borunni á einhverjum Lemúr, er nú ekki nema von ađ hann sé ekki nćgilega vel upplýstur. Hins vegar tel ég víst ađ sendiherrann sitji lengst til hćgri á myndinni hér fyrir neđan. Hann gekk stundum međ baskahúfu, enda franskur húgenotti ađ ćtt. Mynd, ţar sem hann er međ slíka húfu, birtist t.d. af honum í íslenskum og dönskum blöđum áriđ 1939. 

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Íslenskar kerlingar og karlar í frönskum ritum

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Fornleifur stundar ţađ sem frístundagaman, álíka og lćknar leika sér í golfi, ađ safna teikningum og ristum af íslenskum kerlingum og körlum frá 18. og 19. öld. Á hann orđiđ dágott safn af ţeim sem fyllt gćti heilt óđal í búsćlli sveit. Viđ verđum ađ ţakka Frökkum fyrir ađ eilífa ţessa Íslendinga á seinni hluta 18. aldar, jafnvel ţótt ţeir hafi hugsanlega aldrei séđ Íslendingana sem ţeir teiknuđu. 

Ţćr myndi sem sýndar verđa hér úr safni Fornleifs, og sem ekki byggja á teikningum í bók Eggerts Ólafssonar og Bjarna Pálssonar, Reise igigennem Island (1772), eru einnig flestar franskar. Ţessar frönsku myndir voru einu ásjónur Íslendingar sem lítill hluti af heimsbyggđinni hafiđ séđ síđan ađ íslenskar konur sátu (stóđu) fyrir hjá Albrecht Dürer i Antwerpen áriđ 1521 (sjá hér). Voru teikningar Dürers vitaskuld lítt til sýnis fyrr en 19. öld ţegar ţćr komust í eigu eins af međlimum Rotschild-ćttarinnar, ţeirrar ríku.

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Hvort einhver Frakki teiknađi upphaflega ţessi hjón, sem yđur eru sýnd í dag, á Íslandi, eđa hefur látiđ ađrar myndir hafa áhrif á sig skal ekkert fullyrt um hér. Mér hefur dottiđ í hug ađ leiđangrar ţeir sem komu til Íslands á vegum franska greifans Buffons (sjá hér) og sem tók međ sér sauđkind og ţríhyrndan hrút, sem áđur hefur veriđ greint frá á Fornleifi, hafi hugsanlega rissađ upp mynd af Íslendingum af tegundinni homo sapiens, án ţess ađ vilja taka slíka vandrćđagripi međ sér til Frakklands viljuga eđa nauđuga. Frakkarnir vildu miklu frekar hafa međ sér kind og hrút en mannfólk, enda voru ţeir dýrafrćđingar. Ástand Íslensku ţjóđarinnar var vissulega slćmt á síđari hluta 18. aldar, en Íslendingar voru hvorki í svo mikilli útrýmingarhćttu, né ţađ hrjáđir og dýrslegir í útliti ađ útlenskir ferđalangar vildu hafa spesímen af ţeim međ sér á fćti til Frans.

Rúmri hálfri öld síđar tóku ađrir Frakkar afsteypur af Íslendingum og höfđu síđar til sýnis í konungshöllinni í París (sjá hér). Segiđ svo ekki ađ íslensku afdalafólki hafi ekki veriđ sýndur áhugi. Vive la France! 

Homme Islandois & Femme Islandois (1788) 

Fyrsta gerđ mynda af íslenskum karli og konu (sjá efst) sem birtist á bók í Frakklandi eru tvćr myndir af Homme Islandois og Femme Islandois. Ţau birtust í 10. bindi í ritröđ um búninga ţjóđanna eftir Jaques Grasset Saint-Sauveur, sem ber heitiđ Costumes Civils actuels de tous les Peuples connus. Bindiđ sem íslensku hjónin birtust komu út áriđ 1788. (Sjá myndirnar efst; Hér geta menn flett bókinni sem gefin var út af Pavard útgáfunni í París). Myndirnar voru teiknađar af Felix Mixelle. 

Mađur getur leyft sér ađ velta ţví fyrir sér, hvort íslenska konan í bók Grasset Saint-Sauveur hafi veriđ teiknuđ eftir mannamyndunum úr einhverjum af útgáfum af bók Eggerts Ólafssonar og Bjarna Pálssonar, Reise igiennem Island, sem kom fyrst út í Sorř áriđ 1772 (2. bindi, sjá hér). Ţađ tel ég ţó nćsta ólíklegt, og karlinn hjá Eggerti og Bjarna skilar sér alls ekki á teikninguna af íslenska karlinum hjá Grasset Saint-Sauveur. 

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Ţess ber ađ geta ađ áriđ 1788 komu út ađrar myndir af íslenskum hjónum í nágrenni Heklu og öđrum Íslendingum viđ sođningu viđ Geysi í Haukadal. Í enskri bók, nánar tiltekiđ í 1. bindi af bók síra John Trusler: The Habitable World Descirbed; Or the Present State of the People in all Parts of the Globe, from North to South: Showing The Situation, Extent, Climate, Productions, Animals, &c. of the different Kingdoms and States; Including all the new Discoveries: etc. & etc. Part I., London 1788. Leifur á einnig ţessa bók og sömuleiđis úrrifnar myndir úr öđru eintaki í safni sínu. Myndirnar af Íslendingum í bókinni eru heldur ekki fyrirmyndir íslensku hjónanna í frönskum búninga og landfrćđiritum.

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Homme de L'Islande & [Femme de L'Island] í Costumes de Différent Pays (1797)

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Áriđ 1797, tćpum áratug eftir ađ Homme og Femme Islandois komu út í bók Grasset Saint Savieurs um búninga heimsbyggđarinnar, kom út rit međ endurteiknuđum myndum Grasset Saint-Saveurs sem gefin var út í Bordeaux undir ritstjórn útgefanda sem hét Labrousse. Bókin bar heitiđ Dostumes de Différent Pays.

Fornleifur á ţví miđur ađeins karlinn, sem ég keypti nýveriđ í Frakklandi af fornbóksala. Einhvern tíma hefur hann líklega veriđ rifinn út bókinni, ţví myndirnar gáfu fyrir nokkrum árum meira í ađra hönd en ef reynt var ađ selja bókina. Slíkt skemmdarstarfsemi hefur lengi tíđkast og eru bćkurnar nú orđnar svo sjaldséđar og svo  dýrar ađ ţessi ljóti siđur er sem betur fer sjaldgćfari en áđur. Ég leita enn ađ konu fyrir karlinn. Ţessi kona hér fyrir neđan á ég ekki en hún á heima á LACMA listasafninu í Los Angeles og ţví ugglaust ekki til fals fyrir piparsveininn á óđali mínu. Ef ég nć í konu fyrir hann, og hann er ekki hommi, bíđ ég í brúkaup í beinni á Fornleifi međ tölvukampavíni og ódövrum.

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Konan í Los Angeles

Hjón í Tableau historique, descriptif et géographique de tous les peuples du monde (1821)

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Á öđrum og ţriđja áratug 19. aldar gaf forlagiđ Lecrivain í París út verk í litlu broti um landafrćđi og menningu fólks í heiminum. Áriđ 1821 var Íslandi gerđ skil. Listamađurinn sem fenginn var til ađ sýna hina hrjáđu íbúa ţessa eldfjallalands tók hjón Felix Mixelle frá 1788 og pússađi ţau saman á eina mynd. Ţetta gera útgefendur víst til ađ spara, en samt var einnig pláss fyrir Heklu í bakgrunninum. Karlinn er enn međ sinn svarta ţríhyrnuhatt, stafinn og skikkjuna góđu. Konan er einnig kopípeistuđ úr fyrrnefndum frönskum verkum. Mér líkar einstaklega vel viđ uppgrćđsluátakiđ á ţessari mynd. Svo virđist sem listamanninum hafi ţótt viđ hćfi ađ setja eina Alaskaösp eđa álíka stórviđ í bakgrunninn. Ég held mikiđ upp á ţessi menningarhjón sem ég hef leyft mér ađ kalla Vigdísi og Geirharđ í höfuđiđ á frumkvöđlum ţeim sem kenndu frönsku á RÚV í árdaga.

Costumes Civils Actuels Des tous les Peuples Connus, dessines d'apres nature, graves et colories (1830)

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Áriđ 1830 birtust loks íslensk hjón, sem skyld voru ţeim fyrrnefndu í fyrsta bindi fjögurra binda ritrađar Silvain Marechals, sem hann kallađi Costumes Civils Actuels Des tous les Peuples Connus, dessines d'apres nature, graves et colories, sem út kom í París (Hér er meira ađ segja hćgt ađ skođa bókina). Fornleifur á ţessi hjón í tveimur eintökum og búa ein ţeirra ugglaust á Suđurlandi og hin einhvers stađar á Snćfellsnesi.

Vona ég ađ lesendur hafi haft gaman af ţessari myndlistasýningu Fornleifs, sem verđur opinn um óákveđinn tíma. Ţetta er ekki sölusýning.

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V.Ö.V. í mars 2017


To H.M. Queen Elizabeth II: Please correct the error, your Highness

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   The above painting is by Elisabeth Jerichau-Baumann (1819-81), who was one of the leading female painters in Denmark in the mid and late 19th century. Born in Zoliborz, once a wealthy rural area south of Warsaw, into a German family, Elisabeth became a Danish subject, when she married fellow artist and professor of the Royal Academy in Copenhagen, Jens Adolf Jerichau.  They had met in Rome, whereto they both had travelled to seek inspiration and live the lives of true artists of the period. In Rome Jens Adolf was a student of the Icelandic-Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen.

After settling down in Copenhagen, Elisabeth lived in the shadow of her husband, as was the custom of those days. From 1847 and onwards, she gave birth to nine children.  Despite this, she managed to work with her art and to present it to a wide public. She found it difficult to get accepted in Denmark being a woman, and later when Denmark and Germany were at war, also because of her German descent. Due to the couples'­ many visits and stays abroad, together and on their own, Elisabeth Jerichau-Baumann received more recognition in England and especially in France. Her art was also more inspired by French and British trends than by the so called Danish Golden Age painters.

2160-1292516304.jpgIn the month of June 1852 the artist couple travelled to London to present Queen Victoria with a portrait of the Queen dowager of Denmark (see here), and to exhibit Elisabeth's works at the gallery at the newly rebuilt Bridgewater House.  A review in the Times, probably referring to the portrait above, reported that 'the lovers of simple natural beauty will not fail to be attracted by the portrait of an Icelandic maiden, in her national Sunday suit, holding her Psalm book in her hand - a picture which for the tenderness and truthfulness of execution seems to us worthy of the highest praise.

During the exhibition, Queen Victoria invited Elisabeth and her husband to a private reception at Buckingham Palace. The painting of the Icelandic girl was bought by Queen Victoria for the amount of 900 Rbd (Rixdollars). The painting now hangs in the drawing room of Osborne House, Isle of Wight.

From an Icelandic girl to a Norwegian widow

At some stage, during the long period of Victoria's own dedicated widowhood, a sign stating that the painting depicted a "Norwegian widow" was fixed to the elaborate frame in 1876.  Ever since the owners have been reluctant to correct the error. The title The Norwegian widow is now presented with quotation marks on the website of The Royal Collection Trust in London (see here).

It is highly unlikely that an Icelandic woman living in Copenhagen posed for Elisabeth in Copenhagen. That would definitely have made the 'headlines' in Iceland, which it didn't. A more likely scenario is that Elisabeth used available etchings of Icelandic women, which she found in contemporary travel-books, as a model. She then masked the model with a Hellenistic face and seated her in a slightly Victorian variation of one of the Icelandic church chairs from Grund, which is still kept in the National Museum of Denmark. This 16th century Icelandic chair is one of a pair of chairs (the other one to be found in the National Museum in Reykjavík), carpentered  in the Romanesque style. The sad, but majestic face, as well as the black robe of the 'Icelandic woman' might have led to the assumption that she was a widow.

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The Grund-chair which Elisabeth Jerichau-Baumann was inspired by

Other Icelandic Women by Jerichau-Baumann

In 1852 Elisabeth completed two variations of the panting of the Icelandic woman; The one she sold Queen Victoria. Another one is now kept at the Hamburger Kunsthalle (Ein isländisches Mädchen, Inv.-Nr. HK-3466; see here on the website of Dr. Jerzy Miskowiak, a Polish urologist and a surgeon who has lived in Denmark since 1971. Dr. Miskowiak plans the publication of all known works of Jerichau-Baumann later this year. The model in the arched panting in Hamburg is similar to that of the Icelandic lady in London. However, she sits in a chair, which has no connection to Iceland at all. The London-painting is a much better work of art than the painting in Hamburg. Most likely the painting in Hamburg, also dated to 1852, was first painted for an exhibition in Copenhagen, after which Elisabeth decided to paint a better version for her exhibition in London. The work in Hamburg has the title "Ein Isländisches Mädchen" - An Icelandic girl. The Germans possibly have found the woman in the picture too young to be addressed as a 'Frau' or a widow.

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In 1862 Elisabeth painted still another Icelandic woman with the  help of remedies in the form of Icelandic artefacts kept in the National Museum in Copenhagen.  Now Elisabeth created the 10th Century Saga-figure Hallgerđur, the femme fatale wife of Gunnar from Hlíđarendi. Gunnar was a good friend and companion of Njáll in Njáls-Saga.  By putting an 18th century Icelandic crucifix around her neck and an Icelandic ornamented belt around her early 19th century hat, Elisabeth tried to revive a major figure of the Icelandic Saga-litterature, the heartless 10th Century proto-feminist Hallgerđur, which the Danes  wrongly renamed Hallgjerde. Despite 400 year of Danish rule at the time the portrait was painted, only a few Danes managed to understand Icelandic, not to mention to speak it.

Elizabeth Jerichau-Baumann´s 'Hallgjerde' was auctioned off by Bruun & Rasmussen in 2008. Whom the painting was sold to is a secret, but the estimated value was 50.000 DKK or 6700 (link Work 570, page 232). Hallgerđur didn't want to give her husband a few strands of her long hair so he could rewind the broken cord of his bow, when their home was under attack - which resulted in his death. Now she is hanging somewhere to the delight of a passionate collector, who probably doesn't know that Hallgjerde forsaked her husband, because he had slapped her cheak, when he discovered that she had sent her slave to a neighboring farm to steal. 

Iceland rembembers the artist in 1882

Half a year after the death of Elisabeth Jerichau-Baumann, she was remembered in the Icelandic annual magazine, Skírnir. Skírnir reported (in my translation):

On the same day (11 June) died Elisabet Jerichau-Baumann, who has become famous for her drawings and colored paintings. She was married to the sculptor Professor Jerichau, whom she had met in Rome. She was born in Poland to German parents, and in the recallection of her childhood, she had vivid memories from the revolution (1829). One of her paintings is called "Finis Polonić" (The termination of Poland). She travelled widely in Europe and was greatly inspired by these travels,  e.g.in  Constantinopel, where she was allowed to get aquainted to the women of the Sultan in the Harem. She often told vivid and interesting stories about her travels in dailies and pamphlets.  Two of her paintings were inspired by Icelandic themes, one was entitled "An Icelandic woman" [the title Islćnderinde was printed in Danish in the Icelandic article], and the other symbolized Hellgerđur Langbrók. The first painting was bought by Queen Victoria of Britain.

Vilhjálmur Örn Vilhjálmsson, March 2017


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