Louisa Matthíasdóttir was born Reykjavík, Iceland in February 1917. She studied in Copenhagen, Paris and after she moved New York in 1942, with Hans Hoffman alongside Robert De Niro Sr., Larry Rivers, Nell Blaine and Jane Freilicher. Matthíasdóttir’s first solo exhibition was in 1948 at the Jane Street Gallery.
By the 1960s Matthíasdóttir developed the aesthetic that would be hers for the remainder of her long creative life, until her death in February 2000. Matthíasdóttir painted figures, animals, buildings and landscapes of Iceland and Maine with a directness and clarity achieved through bold bands of color and broad brushwork. These simplified elemental shapes reflect the scale, breath, grandeur and sparseness of her visual heritage.
Her works are in the collections of the Reykjavík Municipal Art Museum, Kjarvalstaðir, Iceland, the Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C., The National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C. and the Portland Museum of Art, Maine. She was the recipient of the American-Scandinavian Foundation’s Culture Award, the Knight’s Cross of the Icelandic Order of the Falcon and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1998.