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In 1909, after a rich career abroad, Einar Jónsson decided to settle down in Reykjavik and offered all of his works as a gift to the Icelandic people on the condition that a museum be built to house them. The Icelandic Parliament did accept this offer only in 1914.
At that time artist where not many in Iceland and Icelanders where showing a special interest for the art of their country's first sculptor and had fully realized the value of his gift to the nation.
Jónsson chose to locate the museum on the top of what was at this time a desolate hill on the outskirts of Reykjavik, now an amazing central place close to the famous Hallgrímskirkja cathedral.
The museum was built according to a plan by the artist and it may thus be said that the museum building constitutes his biggest sculpture. The building served as his studio, as a gallery for his works and even as his home.
The museum building is indisputably the work of Jónsson, although it was the architect Einar Erlendsson who officially signed the plans for the museum. Far from being an expression of classicism, the building is a typical example of eclecticism, ideas from a variety of different sources were utilized in its design.
The Einar Jónsson Museum opened in 1923 and was the country's first art museum.