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Today is the birthday of Hilma Af Klint, one of the first abstract painters in the world.
Hilma was an extrordinary and enigmatic artist way ahead of her time.
When her paintings became known to the public, the world was in awe. Hilma’s paintings were like nothing else: otherwordly diagrams and abstract formations in vivid colours.They were nothing like her contermporaries' art.
Hilma was born in Stockholm 1863 and was an active painter several years before abstract pioneers such as Kandinsky and Mondrian
After studying art at the Royal Academy in Stockholm, Hilma joined a group named the Five, a circle of spiritualist women claimed to communicate with spiritual beings they called “the High ones”.
In one of her séances a higher spirit gave Hilma the assignment to create paintings for the “Temple”. The spirits guided and inspired her as she conceived the 193 abstract paintings that were to change modern art.
Her paintings share similarities with later abstract paintings and visual representations of complex spiritual and political ideas. But her transition to abstract paintings were done in isolation without any contacts with the contemporary modern movements.
Upon her death in 1944 Hilma instructed her nephew to hide her paintings and not show them to anyone for at least twenty years. Hilma claimed the world was not ready to see her art just yet. And perhaps she was right.
In 1970 her paintings were offered as a gift to Moderna Museet in Stockholm, which declined the donation. Now, her paintings are among the most valuable in the world – exhibited in places like the Guggenheim and Louisiana.
Want to see more about Hilma in Stockholm?
Check out the Painting and Spirituality exhbition at beautiful Millesgården
Watch the Hilma Af Klint film at Zita in Stokcholm