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Eiðar, Iceland

Kjarvalshvammur

This tiny cabin was home to one of Iceland's most famous painters and was the only land he ever owned. 

Johannes Sveinsson Kjarval is arguably one of the most famous artists ever to come out of Iceland, even appearing on their 2,000 krona note, and the tiny cabin known as Kjarvalshvammur where he created some of his most famous work still stands on the farmland that inspired so many of his creations. 

Kjarval created thousands of drawings and paintings during his prolific career, although he is likely best known for his landscape work which was often inspired by Icelandic geography. So drawn to the Icelandic wilderness was he that he lived in a tent on the wild farmland where Kjarvalshvammur now stands for over two years of summers. It was not until the farmer who owned the land simply gave him the spot and built him a small cabin that Kjarval finally moved indoors. Kjarval returned to the small white cabin each summer, later adding an equally spartan boathouse nearby. The painter spent extended periods of time in this isolated location, painting mountains and patches of ground in a variety of styles. He would also row his boat into the nearby river and navigate it all the way out to sea.

The artist’s haven remains in the out-of-the-way spot where it was built and while Kjarval’s spirit is still kept alive by the number of admirers who still make the pilgrimage to the spot.