When Magnus Agustsson was eight years old, he enrolled in a drawing class, where his teacher left him alone with a lump of clay for an hour while he went downtown. "When I got the clay, I feel, looking back, I was addicted immediately," Agustsson tells the cameraman in the documentary based on his life, The Art of Being Magnus Agustsson. "I didn't care about drawings or paintings, I wanted to make sculpture."
The Icelandic-born pediatric cardiologist and surgeon would juggle art classes with his family, medical practice, and professorship (he was also teaching at the Rockford Medical College) until 1989. He retired from pediatric cardiology to sculpt full-time, though he continued to practice medicine part-time well into his 80s. He died last June at the age of 89.
Over the course of his artistic career, Agustsson produced more than 100 faces and busts, most of which are on display at his namesake, the Agustsson Gallery in Kingston. The late artist's widow, Diane, estimates he may have created as many as 150 pieces. Diane now acts as the gallery curator and garden cultivator, tending to the jungle of trees and blossoms tucked behind the gallery, her late husband's stone sculptures scattered throughout.
The Agustsson Gallery shows not only the artist's work for whom it's named, but also paintings by local, New York City, and Boston artists. Both the paintings and Augustsson's sculptures are available for purchase. Agustssongallery.com. The Agustsson Gallery in Kingston will hold an open on June 6 from 5-9pm.