HILMA af KLINT (1862-1944)

The Large Figure Paintings, No. 5, 1907 

“Over a century ago, Swedish artist Hilma af Klint received a commission from a spirit to translate a “secret growing” of spiritual truths about humanity through her art. Regarded as a “crazy witch,” she perhaps wisely willed these works to be kept secret until 20 years after her death.” (from MoMA). 


“During a seance, af Klint  heard a voice telling her to paint ‘on an astral plane’  so as to ‘proclaim a new philosophy of Life.’   ‘I had no idea,’ she said, ‘what the paintings were supposed to depict: nevertheless I worked swiftly and surely without changing a single brushstroke.’ Part of a group titled The Large Figure Paintings, this work exemplifies af Klint’s use of cosmic and biomorphic forms in pursuit of her spiritual visions.” (MoMA)


Guided, she believed, by a “higher power, she began to paint abstractions in 1906, very early in modern art hstory.  https://www.moma.org/calendar/galleries/5102



“A considerable body of her work predates the first purely abstract compositions by KandinskyMalevich and Mondrian.[2] She belonged to a group called “The Five”, comprising a circle of women inspired by Theosophy, who shared a belief in the importance of trying to contact the so-called “High Masters“—often by way of séances.[3] Her paintings, which sometimes resemble diagrams, were a visual representation of complex spiritual ideas.[4] ” (Wikipedia)


Hilma af Klint, Group 2, No title, No. 14a–No. 21, 1919 © Stiftelsen Hilma af Klints Verk Photo: Albin Dahlström/Moderna Museet