The majority of the young first generation of artists who in the 1930s to 40s were trained at the Art College in Copenhagen were in Copenhagen when Denmark was occupied by the Germans in 1940. Amongst them was S.J. Mikines, the first of the professional Faroese artists. When, shortly after this, the Faroe Islands were occupied by British forces all contact between the Faroe Islands and Denmark was cut off.
In 1941 Faroese students in Copenhagen founded the Faroe Islands Art Society with the aim of encouraging this new pictorial art. After the war the artists came home to the Faroes and along with them the Art Society, which became a very important factor in the artistic milieu which developed in Tórshavn in the 1950s.
In 1948, at the suggestion of the Art Society, the Faroese government established a national collection of Faroese art. The Faroe Islands Art Society built the exhibition building - "Listaskálin", which was opened in 1970. In 1989 the national Faroese art collection and the art collection of the Art Society and "Listaskálin" were combined into one institution, the National Gallery of the Faroe Islands.
Membership of the Faroe Islands Art Society, an organisation which supports the National Gallery of the Faroe Islands, is open to all.
Membership gives certain advantages. Amongst other things:
Membership is obtained by telephoning, writing or sending en e-mail to Listasavn Føroya.
c/o Listasavn Føroya
P.O. Box 1141
The Faroe Islands Art Society arranges, amongst other things, exhibitions of Faroese art abroad. The most recent major exhibitions were exhibitions of sculptures, paintings and graphics at Kjarvalsstøðum, Reykjavík, and Listasafninum, Akureyri in 1998. In 1999 there was a very big exhibition representing 25 Faroese artists in the exhibition building of Den Frie in Copenhagen.
Apart from the membership fee (at present DK150 and DK200 for a couple) the income of the Faroe Islands Art Society stems mainly from the Saint Olav's Festival Exhibition, which has been a part of the festival activities since 1948. The exhibition is normally in the art gallery. For the first 40 years the exhibition was very broad in its scope - it represented both the amateur and the professional. For the past 10 years, however, the Art Society has felt that it has an obligation to concentrate on quality and to make a critical selection. This is due to the fact that there are now several other exhibitions throughout the islands, also in connection with the Saint Olav's Festival. It is also important, however, that new talent should be encouraged.
On the 15th of January 2000, a statue to the memory of the versatile artist William Heinesen was unveiled in the park in Tórshavn, to the south of the Art Museum. The statue was commissioned by the Faroe Islands Art Society from the sculptor Hans Pauli Olsen (1957) from Tórshavn to celebrate the centenary of the birth of the artist. William Heinesen (1900 - 91) was primarily a writer and poet, but he was also a pictorial artist. He worked hard to encourage Faroese pictorial art, and he was one of the most faithful supporters of the Art Society and the Art Gallery.