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Hilma af Klint

October 26, 1862 - October 21, 1944


Swedish artist Hilma af Klint created large abstract paintings starting in 1906, well before such artists as Wassily Kandinsky explored non-representational imagery. She felt that people were not ready for her paintings since they were so radical, she seldom exhibited them during her life.

When her sister died in 1880, af Klint became a medium and was involved with spirituality which was popular at the time. She attended the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm from 1882 to 1887 and became a member of the Theosophical Society when it was formed in Sweden in 1889. Her first series of very large paintings dealing with spirituality, “The Paintings for the Temple,” were done in 1906. She wanted to express the unity of all through her work.

Af Klint created more conventional art that she sold to support herself, she never married, but she specified that none of her spiritual work could be shown for at least twenty years after her death, perhaps because she had not been able to arrange exhibitions for it during her liefetime, it was truly ahead of its time. She also requested that her work and writings be preserved together. Beginning in the 1980s her work started to garner international attention and have been exhibited regularly in the 21st century.

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