Director Ragnar Jónsson (1904 - 1984)
Lifelong friends Ragnar Jónsson and Sigurjón Ólafsson were both born and brought up in the small fishing town of Eyrarbakki. Ragnar Jónsson had a decisive influence on Icelandic art and cultural life, not least through his financial support of the most significant artists of his time. Besides running a margarine factory in Reykjavík he founded the Helgafell publishing house and became Halldór Laxness' first publisher. In 1932 he became the chairman of the very active Musical Association (Tónlistarfélagið) of Reykjavík, which laid the foundations for the country's first Conservatory of Music as well as the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra. He also kept up with the latest developments in Icelandic art and supported artists, not least by purchasing their works.
Eventually Ragnar Jónsson donated 120 works from his private collection to the Icelandic Federation of Labour Unions (ASÍ), which led to the creation of the federations's art museum in Reykjavík in 1961. A particularly generous gesture was Jónsson's financing of a new dwelling for his childhood friend, Sigurjón Ólafsson, which he was able to return to after a stay at a TB sanatorium from 1960 to 1962.
Sculptor Sigurjón Ólafsson and his Portraits
Sigurjón Ólafsson Museum 2008, ISBN 978-87-88755-05-03