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One of Iceland´s foremost pioneers, Ísleifur Sesselíus Konráðsson, was born on February 5, 1889, at the parsonage Stað in Steingrímsfjörður on the Coasts. His parents were Konráð Sigurðsson and Guðrún Jónsdóttir, an unmarried couple, and thus Ísleifur was a child born out of wedlock. Ísleifur was sent to foster with Ólöf Jörundsdóttir at Hafnarhólmur when he was just one year old. He lived with her until he reached the age of confirmation, after which she passed away. Ólöf was his only mother, and it can be said that with her passing, Ísleifur became an orphan.


He started working for himself from the age of 14 in the fishing industry, first in Drangsnes and later all around the country. He arrived in the capital city at the age of 19, where there was no work to be found. However, he had saved enough money to pursue his adventurous spirit, so he sailed to Copenhagen. In Copenhagen, he found a job on a merchant ship that sailed between Copenhagen and New York, although he never set foot in the big city of New York itself. He disliked the overwhelming skyscrapers and didn't enjoy having to lie on his back in the middle of the street to see the stars. Most of the time, Ísleifur worked at the main railway station in Copenhagen, polishing silver.


He returned to Iceland by his own account due to a mistake. Upon arriving in Reykjavík, he didn't have enough money to return to Copenhagen, so he started working at Eyrina in Reykjavík. Through shipping and fishing work in Reykjavík, Ísleifur continued to work until retirement age or until the age of 70.


Shortly after Ísleifur completed his working duty, he met a man walking in Reykjavík who pointed him in the right direction and made his elderly years bearable. That man was the painter Jóhannes Kjarval, whom Ísleifur knew only slightly. Ísleifur asked Kjarval if it wouldn't be wonderful to be able to travel around the country and paint the nature. Kjarval told him to simply do the same thing, and Ísleifur took him at his word. He wandered into a store that sold art supplies and started painting. He claimed he could hardly sleep due to his interest in painting and painted nearly every day until he passed away at the age of 83 in Hrafnista in Reykjavík. He now rests in peace in his homeland in Strönd.

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