Hilma af Klint, Unrecognized Master of Abstracts
Hilma af Klint (October 26, 1862 – October 21, 1944) was a Swedish artist and mystic whose abstract works were only recognized for their brilliance more than 60 years after the artist's passing!
* See all our collection of Hilma's abstracts here.
"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. Her paintings, which sometimes resemble diagrams, were a visual representation of complex spiritual ideas." "When Hilma began creating radically abstract paintings in 1906, they were like little that had been seen before: bold, colorful, and untethered from any recognizable references to the physical world. It was years before Vasily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich, Piet Mondrian, and others would take similar strides to rid their own artwork of representational content.
"Yet while many of her better-known contemporaries exhibited widely, af Klint kept her groundbreaking paintings largely private. She rarely exhibited them and - convinced the world was not yet ready to understand her work - stipulated that it not be shown for twenty years following her death. Ultimately, her work was all but unseen until 1986!"
'Hilma Af Klint: Paintings for the Future,' a 2018 Guggenheim Museum exhibition, was the most-visited exhibition in the museum’s 60-year history and was attended by over 600,000 visitors.
For more about Hilma, read this Guardian essay.