Louisa Matthiasdóttir lived for much of her life in the U.S. but her artistic inspiration stems to a large degree from her native Iceland. Having studied in both Copenhagen and Paris, Matthiasdóttir moved in 1942 to New York where she attended Hans Hoffmanns School together with Nína Tryggvadóttir (also represented with one work in this sale). She married the American artist and art teacher Leland Bell in 1944. With him she became very much part of the postwar American art scene, although she continued to draw inspiration from regular periods spent in Iceland and Europe.
Reykjavik Harbour with its lustrous, deep, dense blues and purples is a prime example of Louisa Matthiasdóttir's work from the 1980s. Her colours now reach a striking depth, vibration and amplitude. They evoke the grandeur of the Icelandic landscape. At the same time other recognisable elements of the artists work abound in Reykjavik Harbour; an element of mystery, a dreamlike tinge, a strange flavour, a peculiar tension, even something theatrical. Matthiasdóttir's astringent landscapes have been described as archetypal modern landscapes. She strips the landscape to its bones, moving constantly towards greater simplification though never crossing the borderline of abstract presentation. She would characterise herself as a painterly realist.