The 60's-era modernist building holds three galleries: two with temporary exhibits and one drawing from the museum's large collection of paintings and sculptures by well-established Icelandic and international artists. A branch of the Reykjavik Art Museum, it offers a permanent exhibition of the key works by one of Iceland's most beloved landscape painters, Johannes Sveinsson Kjarval (1885–1972), the most highly regarded painter in Icelandic history, ofr whom the museum is named. Deeply inspired by his native landscape and folklore, his work is too varied to pigeonhole stylistically, but "expressionist" approximates the thick, paint-laden brushstrokes and abstract arrangements of tone and shape.