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Iceland’s first sculptor, Einar Jonsson (1874-1954), was an expressionist who was inspired by Icelandic folklore and Nordic mythology.
He was born on a farm in southern Iceland on May 11, 1874. He died in Reykjavik on October 18, 1954. Jonsson studied in Copenhagen at the end of the 19th century and built his home and studio in the center of Reykjavik in 1923. Today, his studio, the Einar Jonsson Museum, is dedicated to his life and works.
The sculpture “Sleep”, which took 10 years to complete, depicts a central masculine figure sitting, or sleeping, with his head between his knees and his strong hands holding the back of his head. In the forefront is a smaller feminine figure standing watch, which may symbolize the fragile yet protective aspects of sleep.