Muggur (1922/23)

Guðmundur Pétursson Thorsteinsson, better known as Muggur (5 September 1891, Bíldudalur – 27 July 1924, Søllerød) was an Icelandic painter, graphic artist, author and film actor. His younger brothers, Samúel, Gunnar and Friðþjófur, were all professional football players.


His father, Pétur (1845-1929) was one of the richest men in Iceland; founder of the fishing company Milljónarfélagið. When he was twelve, the family moved to Copenhagen, but they travelled continuously between there and Iceland.[1]

He studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts from 1911 to 1915, but also took study trips to Germany and Italy.[1] In 1915, he made a visit to the United States, where his works had recently been exhibited to good reviews in the Evening Sun.[2]

In addition to his paintings, he wrote and illustrated a children's book, The Story of Dimmalimm, about a young girl and an enchanted swan. It was written in 1921 for a niece, while he was on board a cargo ship sailing from Italy to Iceland, and was published in 1942.[1] Later, Jóhannes úr Kötlum turned it into a verse play and it was also staged as a ballet, with music by Atli Heimir Sveinsson. He created numerous drawings inspired by the Eddas as well and created Iceland's first unique deck of playing cards.

He was also a talented amateur actor and had a major role in one of Iceland's first films, Sons of the Soil (Saga Borgarættarinnar), based on a novel by Gunnar Gunnarsson.

A brief marriage that ended in divorce led him to drink heavily. In 1923, already in deteriorating health, he was kicked in the back by a horse.[2] After a lengthy stay at a spa in France, he returned to the family estate in Denmark and died of a chest ailment (possibly tuberculosis), aged only thirty-two.[1] Most of his works are in the National Gallery of Iceland.

Selected works


  1. 1 2 3 4 Brief biography with photographs, by Elfar Logi Hannesson @ Arnfirðingur.
  2. 1 2 "Movie-Star, Painter, Man Of The World: The Story Of Muggur" @ The Reykjavík Grapevine.

Further reading

Media related to Muggur at Wikimedia Commons

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