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Who is Karl Kvaran?

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By Gwylym Owen

Karl Kvaran (November 17, 1924 – August 9, 1989) was an Icelandic painter and draughtsman. He was born in Borðeyri in western Iceland and died in Reykjavík. He is considered one of the principal exponents of the geometric abstractionist instructor of painting in Iceland in the prematurely sixties.

Kvaran studied at the Iceland Academy of the Arts in Reykjavík (1943–45) and the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen. He as well as studied below Peter Rostrup Bøyesen.

Kvaran was influenced by the abstract art of Svavar Guðnason and Þorvaldur Skúlason, an futuristic development of the 1940s. Iceland experienced a time of prosperity in the post-war era and for the first grow old painters and writers began to form groups and movements. Kvaran and Kristján Davíðsson were important figures in the loan of the geometric abstractionist school.

In the in the future part of his career (1942–52) he worked in a French-influenced post-Cubist style. The sculpted, “hammered” surface texture of his strongly composed paintings was created using regular, abrupt brush strokes.

At the start of the 1950s Kvaran abandoned figurative art for geometrical abstraction, using pure, uniform colour to Make two-dimensional geometric forms. Kvaran was one of a number of Icelandic artists who contributed to a well-to-do geometric abstraction interest during the 1950s.

Between 1958 and 1970 the structure of his large gouache paintings and pen-and-ink drawings became more relaxed, with straight lines replaced by a more rhythmic interplay of curved and circular shapes.

After 1970 Kvaran began painting much larger works in oil. Static formal shapes were replaced by more shapeless constructions in intense shades of red, yellow and blue, accompanied by areas of black and whites. This style is said to have reached the climax of its development nearly 1979. His play a part was characterised by a thriftiness of style closely increasingly puzzling dimensional interplay.

Kvaran is considered one of the main connections between French-derived abstract painting and Minimalism. His venturesome use of intense colour matched as soon as graphic skills marks him as a bridge amongst abstraction and Pop Art.

Along taking into account Benedikt Gunnarsson, Bragi Ásgeirsson, Eiríkur Smith, Gerður Helgadóttir, Gudmunda Andrésdóttir, Gudmundur Benediktsson, Hafsteinn Austmann, Hjörleifur Sigurdsson, Hördur Ágústsson, Jóhannes Jóhannesson, Jón Benediktsson, Kjartan Gudjónsson, Nína Tryggvadóttir, Svavar Gudnason, Sverrir Haraldsson, Valtyr Pétursson and Thorvaldur Skúlason. Kvaran’s play a part was featured in a 1998 exhibition at the National Gallery of Iceland in Reykjavík, “The Dream of Pure Form, Geometric Art of the 1950s”. His feign also featured in the 1998 National Gallery of Iceland exhibition “Icelandic 20th Century Art”.

The National Gallery of Iceland showed a retrospective of Kvaran’s put-on in November 2010. A number of Kvaran’s works and a portray of the player are displayed at the Frost and Fire Guesthouse website .

The Icelandic musician and composer Haflidi Hallgrímsson has composed a violin award to Kvaran, a near friend, “Offerto (In Memoriam Karl Kvaran)”.

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