30 years ago Listasavn Føroya - the National Gallery of the Faroe Islands - was ready to welcome guests into its newly-built museum with ample space for a large art collection which would form the core of the museum’s future activities: collecting, conservation, research into and dissemination of Faroese art.
With this exhibition we tell the story of how the museum came to be built, the role it plays today, and how the gallery plans to sustainably modernise the museum for the benefit of its future visitors.
It was in 1941 that the foundations of the National Gallery of the Faroe Islands were laid, when the Faroese Society of Visual Arts was formed with the aim of procuring Faroese art, the plan being that a museum would later be built to house the collection. Following the Second World War the Faroese government established the “Faroese Public Art Museum” with the same goal: to create a publicly-owned art collection housed in a museum building. To this end the Faroese government purchased a large collection of important artworks by Faroese artists.
1970 – LISTASKÁLIN: THE FOUNDING OF AN ART GALLERY
The first building built specifically to house Faroese artworks was the initiative of the Faroese Society of Visual Arts. Thanks to the donation of a plot of land in Tórshavn municipality, a newly-built art gallery was inaugurated in 1970. The building was designed by the Faroese architect Jákup Paula Gregoriussen, and with the opening of the gallery the Society’s and the government’s collections of Faroese art were given their first dedicated home. Subsequently the collections grew dramatically in size and number, and the gallery very soon began to run out of space.
The Society ran the gallery “Listaskálin” up until 1989, with the financial support of among others the Faroese government.
The 1970 construction project was financed by the Society and through the sale of artworks.
1993 – THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A CENTRAL ART MUSEUM
The National Gallery of the Faroe Islands was established in 1989 when the Faroese government donated its extensive art collection to the museum. Simultaneously the Faroese Society of Visual Arts donated its own collection, along with the art gallery, to the newly-established public institution. In the years since this generous act of philanthropy the museum has become a national cultural institution receiving financial support from the Faroese government.
In order to accommodate the collections donated by the Faroese government and the Society, it was necessary to build a full-scale art museum which lived up to the standards of the day. J.P. Gregoriussen was once again given the job of designing the building, this time in collaboration with the Danish architect Niels Fridthiof Truelsen, and thus it was that a unique new museum building came to be built. On the 18th of June 1993 the public were welcomed into the brightly-illuminated museum in which the artworks, artists and visitors enjoyed a decidedly more modern environment – and Faroe Islanders were given a museum tailor-made for its homegrown art collections.
With this small special exhibition, we humbly look back at the past 30 years, but also at the future of the National Gallery of the Faroe Islands.
Join us on a journey into the museum's future when the exhibition opens on 16 June at 16. The exhibition takes us back to the beginning, to the present day and leads us into a bright future for Faroese art.
The 1993 construction project received financial support from: Augustinus Fonden, the Faroese government, Tórshavn municipality, The Velux Foundations, Knud Højgaards Fond and Beckett-Fonden.