Hilma af Klint is born on October 26 at Karlbergs slott (Karlberg Palace) in Stockholm to Captain Fredrik Victor af Klint and Mathilda Sontag.
She is the fourth of ﬁve children. Her father comes from a family of naval ofﬁcers, and he instructs cadets at the Military Academy Karlberg. Af Klint was to share his great interest in nature and mathematics, and this had a major influence on her work as an artist.
The family moves to Norrtullsgatan in Stockholm. They spend their summers at the family estates, Tofta and Hanmora, on the island of Adelsö in Lake Mälaren.
Hilma af Klint attends the Normalskola för flickor (General School for Girls).
She starts participating in séances.
Hilma af Klint attends drawing classes at Tekniska skolan (Technical School) and classes in portraiture at Kerstin Cardon’s painting school.
Her sister Hermina dies and the loss probably reinforces Hilma af Klint’s interest in the spiritual.
She attends the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. Her teachers include Georg von Rosen and August Malmström. She and fellow student Anna Cassel become lifelong friends. Hilma af Klint graduates with honors from the Academy.
She paints portraits and landscapes in a naturalist style.
The Swedish Lodge of the Theosophical Society is founded in February by, amongst others, the author Viktor Rydberg. Hilma af Klint becomes a member later that year. Viktor Rydberg’s novel “Singoalla”(The Wind Is My Lover) contains ideas that are shared by the theosophists, and Hilma af Klint later read and studied the book.
The previous year, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, the co-founder of the Theosophical Society in New York, published “The Secret Doctrine: The Synthesis of Science, Religion and Philosophy”.
Hilma af Klint meets Anna Cassel, Cornelia Cederberg, Sigrid Hedman, and Mathilda Nilsson regularly to explore spiritual dimensions. The first notebook from these meetings is dated 1892.
The group, who from 1896 onwards call themselves “The Five”, believe they are making contact with a spiritual dimension and being led by spirits by the names of Gregor, Clemens, Amaliel, Esther and Ananda. The messages from the spirits, their experiences during their meetings and the automatic drawings they make there are documented in the notebooks that The Five keep. Throughout her life, Hilma af Klint continues to make detailed notes.
In 1896 August Strindberg begins his “Ockulta dagboken” (Occult Diary).
Hilma af Klint’s father dies.
Hilma af Klint moves to Brahegatan 52 in Stockholm with her mother. She goes on study tours to Norway, Holland, Belgium and Germany.
She works as an illustrator at the Veterinärinstitutet (Veterinary Institute). Her illustrations are published in 1901 in “Grunddragen af hästens operativa speciella kirurgi” (The Fundamentals of Special Horse Surgery) by John Vennerholm.
Rents a studio at Hamngatan 9 near the Kungsträdgården area in Stockholm. Kungsträdgården is the heart of Stockholm’s art scene. Here lies Blanch’s Art Salon, where many of the new artists’ works are presented.
During a séance with The Five, Hilma af Klint is told that she will be commissioned to make paintings on the astral plane. Her works are to represent the immortal aspects of man.
Hilma af Klint is urged to prepare for her great task. She is to be at Amaliel’s disposal for one year, undergo trials and refrain from all other painting. This marks a turning point in Hilma af Klint’s life and artistic practice.
In November she starts working on The Paintings for the Temple, which will comprise several different series and groups of paintings on various themes. The ﬁrst, preparatory group is called Primordial Chaos and consists of twenty-six fairly small pictures. According to Hilma af Klint, these paintings are created mediumistically. Her work is kept secret and shown only to a chosen few.
Her naturalist works are presented at the Art and Industrial Exhibition in Norrköping, alongside works by her former teachers at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. The following year, her works are also shown at the Art and Industrial Exhibition in Lund.
She starts working on The Large Figure Paintings in May. In October, she starts on the group The Ten Largest, which is to depict the Four Ages of Man – Childhood, Youth, Adulthood, and Old Age – on a spiritual level.
The paintings are executed in a studio at Hamngatan 5, where Lotten Rönnqvist and Alma Arnell work since before. Following Lotten Rönnqvist’s passing in 1912, Hilma af Klint shares the studio with Alma Arnell.
Another three series are created, including the ornamental “The Seven-Pointed Star”.
She meets Rudolf Steiner, the general secretary of the German section of the Theosophical Society and future founder of anthroposophy, and invites him to her studio. He is most likely critical of her mediumistic approach. Steiner further claims that her work will not be understood for another ﬁfty years.
In order to take better care of her mother who has become blind, Hilma af Klint gives up her studio on Hamngatan in early summer and moves into a study in the building on Brahegatan. This leads to a four-year hiatus in her work on “The Paintings for the Temple”. During this period, she also refrains from painting naturalist works, with the exception of a portrait in 1910.
Hilma af Klint’s early naturalist paintings are exhibited by the Föreningen Svenska Konstnärinnor (The Association of Swedish Women Artists) at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm. Over the years, her non-spiritual works are presented in over thirty different exhibitions.
Steiner holds two lectures in Stockholm in April. He breaks with the Theosophical Society that year. One year later, his followers start the Anthroposophical Society in Germany.
She resumes work on The Paintings for the Temple. Several new series and groups are painted under the influence of spirits, but her work is signiﬁcantly more independent than it had been previously. These works include the groups “The Swan” and “The Dove”.
Hilma af Klint lectures on her spiritual development in Stockholm.
In June, she participates in the congress of the Theosophical Society in Stockholm. Annie Besant is President of the Society and a guest of honor at the congress. Back in 1901, Besant and Charles W. Leadbeater had collaborated on the influential theosophical publication Thought-Forms.
Purchases Villa Furuheim at the island of Munsö on lake Mälaren. She spends her forthcoming summers there.
She shows naturalist paintings at the Baltic Exhibition in Malmö. Artists from the Nordic and Baltic countries, Germany, and Russia participate in the show. The Russian section features works by Wassily Kandinsky. Strongly influenced by theosophy, Kandinsky had published On the Spiritual in Art three years earlier.
Rents a studio at Eriksbergsgatan 14.
Hilma af Klint concludes The Paintings for the Temple with the three large altarpieces.
She leaves the Theosophical Society.
Rents a studio at Ynglingagatan 21.
She continues exploring the world in pictures. She paints the Parcifal series, comprising 144 watercolors.
Construction work begins on land owned by the Giertta family at Furuheim, Munsö, and a studio for Hilma af Klint’s paintings is completed the following year. The building is largely ﬁnanced by her female friends, especially Anna Cassel.
She paints the geometrically abstract Atom Series, in which her strong interest in the natural sciences is palpable. She investigates the atom’s characteristics on a physical and a spiritual plain.
Hilma af Klint also dictates her thoughts on spiritual life to Anna Ljungberg. When the text is transcribed, it comprises 2,058 typewritten pages.
She moves to Furuheim with her mother and Thomasine Andersson, her mother’s nurse.
Hilma af Klint’s mother dies.
On New Year’s Day, she embarks on a series of paintings on the great world religions, marking the beginning of an intense creative period.
Hilma af Klint moves to Helsingborg with Thomasine Andersson. She joins the Anthroposophical Society. In the fall, they visit Dornach in Switzerland, where Hilma af Klint again meets Rudolf Steiner.
She joins the Anthroposophical Society.
After her ﬁrst trip to Dornach she stops painting for over a year and subsequently gives up geometric abstraction. She studies anthroposophical literature and changes her approach. After this hiatus, she paints predominantly in watercolors and strives to allow the colors to generate the subject matter.
She spends long periods in Dornach, studying anthroposophy and attending many of Rudolf Steiner’s lectures.
In 1925 Rudolf Steiner dies. There are no paintings or notes dating from the period 1925 to 1930.
She settles in Skolgatan 17 in Uppsala together with Thomasine Andersson.
Af Klint donates her work on flowers, mosses, and lichens from 1919 to the Goetheanum in Dornach. These studies were part of a larger esoteric work, aiming to understand and systematize nature. Her project can be seen as a parallel to contemporary work in the ﬁeld of natural sciences at the time.
She travels to London where she exhibits the series Altarpieces (1915) at the World Conference of Spiritual Science and Its Practical Applications, that was organized by the Anthroposophical Society in England.
She moves to Helsingborg where she stays at two different addresses until 1934.
Makes a note about an idea of a temple on the island Ven in Öresund that could house “The Paintings for the Temple”. The idea is never realized.
She paints two visionary maps of Great Britain and the Iberian Peninsula, presaging the London Blitz and the naval battle in the Mediterranean during Second World War.
She writes in her notebook that her work should not be shown until at least twenty years after her death.
Lives in Lund, at three different addresses.
Anna Cassel dies.
Thomasine Andersson dies.
She moves to live with her cousin Hedvig af Klint in Osby, Djursholm.
Hilma af Klint writes her ﬁnal notebook entry on October 9. It ends with the following sentence: “You have mystery service ahead, and will soon enough realize what is expected of you.”
She dies, almost eighty-two years old, following an accident on October 21. Kandinsky, Munch, and Mondrian die the same year.
She leaves her artistic estate, comprising more than 1,000 works and just over 125 notebooks, to her nephew, Erik af Klint.
The Foundation for Hilma af Klint’s work is created with the task of making the extensive estate accessible and known to the general public.
Hilma af Klint’s abstract paintings are shown for the first time to a wider audience in the exhibition “The Spiritual in Art: Abstract Painting 1890–1985”, curated by Maurice Tuchman, at LACMA in Los Angeles, USA.
Nordisk Konstcentrum in Helsinki presents the exhibition Secret Pictures by Hilma af Klint, which tours to P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center (now MoMA PS1), Queens, New York, Listasafn Íslands, Reykjavik and Galleri F15, Moss, Norway.
Moderna Museet in Stockholm presents “Hilma af Klint – Occult Painter and Abstract Pioneer”. The exhibition tours to Göteborgs Konsthall, Gothenburg, Sweden, Lunds Konsthall, Lund, Sweden and Fyns Kunstmuseum, Odense, Denmark.
Liljevalchs Konsthall in Stockholm is the first to show Hilma af Klint’s entire cycle of “The Paintings for the Temple” (193 paintings).
Moderna Museet in Stockholm presents the first comprehensive retrospective exhibition of the artist entitled “Hilma af Klint – Abstract Pioneer”, initiated and curated by Iris Müller- Westermann, assisted by Jo Widoff.
The exhibition tours to different countries in Europe and is seen by over a million people. In collaboration with the foundation, Moderna Museet allocates resources to catalogue, conserve and frame previously unknown parts of the estate, as well as digitize 26,000 notebook pages, thus facilitating future research and exhibitions.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York presents “Hilma af Klint – Paintings for the Future”, curated by Tracey Bashkoff with David Horowitz, breaking visitor records.
The film “Beyond the Visible – Hilma af Klint” by Halina Dyrschka is released.
The exhibition “Hilma af Klint – Artist, researcher, medium is shown” at Moderna Museet, Malmö.
The very first book about the artist and her work for children is published: Hilma af Klint: Mapping the Invisible (text: Ylva Hillström, illustrations: Karin Eklund).
“Hilma af Klint: The Secret Paintings” opens at Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. The exhibition continues to Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, New Zeeland.
The book “Hilma af Klint – Die Welt in Erstaunen versetzen” by the art historian Julia Voss is published.
The exhibition “Hilma af Klint – The ten largest” is on view at Moderna Museet in Stockholm, curated by Matilda Olof-Ors.
The feature film “Hilma” directed by Lasse Hallström premieres.
Book publisher Stolpe publishes the seventh and last part of the catalogue raisonné of Hilma af Klint’s works.