|Louisa Matthíasdóttir "Self Portrait in Long Striped Sweater" 1993 Tibor de Nagy Gallery|
Louisa Matthíasdóttir (1917-2000) was an Icelandic-American painter. She was born and raised in Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland, but went on to study art abroad, first in Denmark and then in Paris. In 1942 she moved to New York City to study at the Art Student's League of New York. She soon left the ASL to study with Hans Hofmann. During this period, in fellow student Nell Blaine's studio, she met artist Leland Bell, whom she married in 1944. Bell and Matthíasdóttir had a long and apparently mutually supportive marriage, which produced one child, the painter Temma Bell, and lasted until Leland's death in 1991. The family divided their time between Iceland and the United States.
|Louisa Matthíasdóttir "Self Portrait in Overalls" 1985 National Academy Museum|
Matthíasdóttir had her first solo exhibition in 1948 and kept on working and exhibiting steadily throughout her life. In the 1960's she developed the stripped-down style with strong clear color for which she is most known. Her work is in museums and private collections around the world. She received numerous honors during her lifetime including the Icelandic Medal of Honor, Falkorðan (The Order of the Falcon) in 1988, the American Scandinavian Cultural Award in 1996 and election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2000. Her work is still represented by Tibor de Nagy in NYC and Studio Stafn in Reykjavík. The official website for her estate can be seen here.
|Louisa Matthíasdóttir "Self Portrait with Yellow Table" 1981 Smithsonian American Art Museum|