Exhibition Opening − William Morris: Let Beauty Rule!

Exhibition Opening − William Morris: Let Beauty Rule!

I do not want art for a few any more than education for a few or freedom for a few.
- William Morris,1877.

Reykjavík Art Museum proudly presents the first big exhibition in Iceland featuring the influential English artist, William Morris. The exhibit features Morris’ beautiful and sensory universe of tapestries, textiles, furniture, glass mosaics, books, and so forth. As an extra bonus, it will also feature the works of his closest associates, Edward Burne-Jones, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Philip Webb.

Morris (1834-1896) was an artist, thinker, author and social critic who greatly influenced his time and left a visual heritage and ideology which continue to influence us today.

Morris’s connection to Iceland is interesting, he visited the country twice during his career, in 1871 and 1873. Morris was greatly affected by his visits to Iceland, the landscape and the culture fascinated him. He is said to have considered himself a man of the north, as was evident in his incessant interest in Icelandic literature, but also in his unpolished appearance.

This exhibition is a collaboration with William Morris Gallery in London and Millesgården in Stockholm. It has also been installed in Denmark and Edinburgh. This is the first exhibition in Iceland to cover Morris’s diverse career.

In addition to previous installations of this exhibition, this one will include a special chapter on the Icelandic connection.

On display in the exhibition are original drawings of Morris’s patterns; wallpapers and work processes; paintings; drawings; stained glass windows; furniture and wall-hangings.

The Icelandic chapter of the exhibition will include artefacts which Morris brought back from Iceland and influenced his imagery, for example a carved horn and other material.

As one of the leading figures behind the Arts & Crafts movement, Morris was in love with the aesthetics of the Middle Ages and the expert craftsmanship of the period. He relocated to the countryside and set up an inspirational, productive, and at times, dramatic artist collective together with some of the leading painters, artisans, architects and designers of the day. He married the group’s much courted favourite model and muse, the beautiful Jane Burden. On top of that, he was also both a successful businessman and one of England’s first socialists.

Everything that William Morris did was inspired by a revolutionary fervor. The artist strove to make the world and the lives of the people in it better through his designs – by letting beauty rule!

The Prime Minister of Iceland, Katrín Jakobsdóttir will open the exhibition and Michael Nevin, The British Ambassador to Iceland will address the opening guests.

Further information
Áslaug Guðrúnardóttir, Communication and Marketing Manager, aslaug.gudrunardottir@reykjavik.is, tel. +354 820 1201