Sámal Joensen-Mikines

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Sámal Joensen-Mikine
Born23 February 1906
Died21 September 1979(1979-09-21) (aged 73)

Sámuel Joensen-Mikines (1906–1979) was a Faroese painter. He was the first recognised painter of the Faroe Islands and one of the Faroe Islands' most important artists. Many of his paintings have been displayed on Faroese stamps.

Joensen-Mikines was born on the island of Mykines. He never doubted that he would be an artist, and his first inclination was to be musician and play the violin. But in the summer of 1924 the Swedish bird painter William Gislander visited the Faroe Islands for painting the enormous colonies of birds. Gislander was not a great artist, but for the young Joensen-Mikines he was the idol, whose steps he followed from the very beginning, and who let him make his first brush strokes with the remainders of paint that could squeeze out of Gislander's tubes. His paintings were inspired both by Edvard Munch and Eugène Delacroix, and his trend-setting art was decisive for the development of Faeroese art.

The most early works of Mikines are from the middle of the 1920s. He then painted in a fresh and naturalistic style with a precise representation of colour and motifs. He was asked by the author and artist William Heinesen to apply for the "Danske Kunstakademi", the Royal Danish Art Academy. He was admitted on the Painting School in 1928 and had Ejnar Mikkelsen and later on Aksel Jørgensen as teachers. He settled in Denmark but was almost every year on Mykines in the summer until 1971. On Mykines he draw and painted as he also made rough sketches which later on became paintings during the winter in Denmark. S J Mikines travelled many other places than Mykines and also these places were among his motifs. S J Mikines participated in countless exhibitions since his debut in Tórshavn in 1927, where all his paintings were sold and his paintings can be seen many different places. Apart from Listaskálin in Tórshavn, where a great permanent exhibition is, paintings can be seen in the Faroese Parliament as well in many banks and savings banks all over the Faroes. Paintings of Mikines can also be seen in "Statens Museum for Kunst" in Copenhagen.

With Aksel Jørgensen and Ejner Nielsen as his teachers and together with the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch, they inspired Mikines' symbolic, expressive, and often sombre and dramatic portrayals in which death plays a major role. The darkest paintings are dated around 1934, which became a fateful year for Mikines. His native village, Mikines, was struck by grief when a large part of the male population of the village drowned because of a boat wreck. Furthermore, this was the year when Mikines' father died. Mikines has described it as an artistic experience when his father's coffin was carried through the village. But later paintings of, for example, his native village were noticeably light and idyllic. The drama, however, remained an important part of the artistic expression of Mikines.

The portrait: 1934[edit]

It is disputed who the woman is on the vertical portrait painted 1934, many people believe the portrait shows the artist's wife, and it certainly does resemble her very closely; others say that she is an anonymous woman from the village Sørvag. The horizontal painting shows a woman standing beside the sea coast, looking out for her husband to arrive home from the sea. Although this set is dedicated to "Famous Women", the women are anonymous, but Mikines intended it to represent the Faroese Woman.