Hilma af Klint (1862–1944) was a trail-blazer for art that turned away from visible reality. By 1906, the abstract imagery that she developed presaged the abstract movements in Russia and the rest of Europe. This was long before Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian and Kazimir Malevich, who are still regarded as the pioneers of abstract 20th-century art.
Botany, music, mathematics and scientific systems were of great interest to Hilma af Klint. Like many of her contemporaries, she was influenced by spiritual movements, especially spiritualism, theosophy, and later, anthroposophy – topics avidly discussed in avant-garde circles at the time. Through her paintings, she sought to understand and communicate the various dimensions of human existence. She was convinced that she was channelling a higher plane of consciousness in her work.
Pictures for the future
Hilma af Klint did not allow the abstract works to be exhibited while she was alive. In her will, she stipulated that they must not be shown in public until at least twenty years after her death. She was convinced that not until then would people begin to understand their meaning.
One hundred years ago, Hilma af Klint painted pictures for the future.
Read more about the exhibition that was shown at Moderna Museet in 2013: Hilma af Klint – A Pioneer of Abstraction
Published 9 February 2016 · Updated 9 February 2016