Artful Observation: Hilma af Klint

Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future
On view October 12-April 23, 2019
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
1071 Fifth Avenue (between 88 & 89th St), NYC

The Guggenheim Museum has a show on now that reveals a new female player in the art historical field of Modernism. That’s Klint, not Klimt.  Who was she?  Hilma grew up in Sweden (1862-1944).  Her father was Swedish, her mother Finnish born.  Hilma inherited something of her father’s turn of mind, as he was a naval engineer.  This part of her was technical, methodical and scientific, by witness of her color theory studies in the show. 

When you look at her early self- portraits in pencil and pastel you realize that she was incredibly excellent at drawing.  She took the graduation prize at Stockholm’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts in 1887.  She freelanced as an illustrator of botanical drawings, but soon after graduating, she became deeply involved with spiritualism, séances and theosophy. 

Among artists she knew of and admired was Rudolph Steiner. Many who came of age during her time joined their generation to explore the spiritual in art.  Kandinsky is a major artist we think of in terms of this. He published On the Spiritual in Art in 1912. Hilma produced a body of work that was increasingly non-objective and based totally on her search for the spiritual within.  Only the titles of pieces in the exhibition lead us to understand her interests: evolution, chaos, ether planet, and the human cycle of life.

Go see this show and wander the circling levels of the Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, to discover a female artist who engages the public, with her investigative and spiritual turn of mind, with a unique form of vision.

For more information about the museum and exhibit, click here.

This article was submitted by one of our Artful Circle members! We encourage our members to submit articles about their own artful observations, including museum and art gallery visits, commentary and more…for possible publication in our Artful Observer: Blog. Submit to

Holly Meeker Rom
MFA/MA in Art Education; signature member of Northwest Watercolor Society; Salmagundi Club

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