Hilma af Klint - from spiritualism to abstraction

Hilma af Klint‘s art was truly ahead of its time, so much so that the artist decreed that her artworks should remain sealed for 20 years after her death. Her work embodies the artist‘s forward-thinking mindset, which sought to defy social restrictions and rigid systems and advocate a larger worldview without prejudices.


Left: The Ten Largest, No. 3, Youth, 1907, Right: Self-portrait, around 1890

Hilma was one of the first women to study at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm and maintained a lifelong close friendship with fellow artist Anna Cassel. Together, they explored spiritual societies and conducted séances, documenting their experiences meticulously.


Group X, Altarpieces, Nos. 1–3, 1915

In 1906, at the age of 44, a spiritual revelation completely changed her artistic direction. Embracing Theosophy and influenced by spiritualism, she delves into abstraction - long before Kandinsky would start painting non-figuratively.


Left: The Swan, No.1, 1915,  Right: The Ten Largest, No. 9, Old Age, 1907

But despite her prolific output, she faced significant challenges in exhibiting her abstract works publicly, so she had to rely on her conventional paintings as her source of income. It wasn‘t until decades after her death in 1944 that her art gained recognition. In 2018, the Guggenheim Museum‘s exhibition of her works became a sensation, drawing enormous crowds and finally bringing her the acclaim she deserved.


The Swan, Nos. 16, 17, 19, 1915

Af Klint‘s works predated the term „abstract“ and profoundly shifted the landscape of art history. Her spiritual explorations and visionary artwork challenged conventional norms, exploring the unity of male and female energies, the transcendence of matter into spirit, and the interconnectedness of all life. Her vision, once ahead of its time, now resonates with scientific and artistic revelations, firmly establishing her as a pioneer in abstract art.