1941 saw the foundation of the Faroese Art Society in Copenhagen. Its mission was to create a collection of Faroese art. Following the war, in 1948 the Faroese Parliament established the Faroe Islands’ General Art Museum with the aim of creating a public art collection. In 1989, with government subsidy, the two collections were transferred to the self-governing institution, the National Gallery of the Faroe Islands.
The collection at the National Gallery of the Faroe Islands has since been expanded with works acquired or received as donations, and in this respect support from Danish foundations has been crucial. Today, the collection contains upwards of 2,600 works, covering the period from the oldest preserved pictures from the 1840s to the very latest art. It includes the largest collection of works by S. Joensen-Mikines and a large number of masterpieces by the great Faroese artists.
As a publicly-funded cultural institution, the task of the National Gallery of the Faroe Islands is to collect and preserve Faroese art and conduct research into, and promote it as part of the cultural heritage of the Faroe Islands. Outreach and public engagement activities include book publications, research projects and art exhibitions both in the Faroe Islands and abroad. On a regular basis, the Museum presents temporary exhibitions of foreign art, which serve to shed new light on Faroese art.