Monday, December 06, 2021

Mondays in Iceland -#132

Awesome Auðurs
Auður (Modern Icelandic spelling) or Auðr (Old Icelandic spelling) is an Old Norse-Icelandic female personal name. It also has the variant forms Unnr (Old Icelandic) and Unnur (Modern Icelandic). It is sometimes rendered as Aud, Audur, or Unn in English and in other languages. ~ Wikipedia.

This was a name I was completely unaware of prior to my infatuation with all things Icelandic, an obsession which began in 2000.

Roughly translated as “wealth” or “prosperity” it comes from Germanic roots via the Old Norse. The first famous Aud was Aud the Deep-Minded (Auðr djúpúðga Ketilsdóttir), a ninth century settler of Iceland who is featured in several sagas.

In 2004 I discovered a not-quite-so-famous Auður who wrote an influential blog that I’ve referenced here many times. I had the pleasure of attending a play with her in 2006.

Another famous Auður was Auður Sveinsdóttir, who married Nobel Laureate Halldór Laxness and was also his close collaborator. She had a big cultural influence in Iceland in the last half of the 20th century, introducing new ideas in homemaking and crafts as well as being host of numerous soirées at Gljúfrasteinn, where she and Laxness lived. In 2012 I was given a tour of her kitchen!

A more recent Auður that I’ve discovered is the author Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir. She is one of the best of the modern Icelandic authors.

Finally, the intriguing Audur Helgadóttir Winnan, author of Wanda Gág, A Catalogue Raisonne of the Prints (1993).

The book she created covered the work and life of another of my obsessions, Wanda Gág. It is a masterpiece of research and writing and brought a wider awareness of Wanda into the twenty-first century.

Icelandic born, she and her husband, R. Gray Winnan, were patrons of the arts in New York City. Audur also worked on other artist’s catalogs, another “deep-minded” Auður.

The only image I uncovered of her was an embriodered name tag in this designer dress from the 60s.

According to the website the dress is an “honest” size 8.

By Professor Batty


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