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Genue Inc.
April 24, 2019

Artists We Love: The Paintings of Hilma af Klint

flower paintings by Hilma af Klint

Hilma af Klint

The Guggenheim recently closed a retrospective show of paintings by Swedish artist Hilma af Klint. The show, titled Paintings for the Future, comprised of large-scale, boldly colored paintings. Paintings for the Future is the first solo show of Klint’s work in the United States, coming almost a hundred years after her death.

 

Klint lived and worked in the late 19th and early 20th century, although her work seems much more contemporary than it is. Mixing spirituality, symbolism and mysticism, her work is layered with meaning to uncover and content to interpret.

 

During her lifetime, Klint worked in portraits and landscapes, which were standard for the time, but did not push her skill or cause a great stir in the art world. However, Klint lead a much different life than most people knew about–she was a dedicated believer and follower of the occult, and would hold seances. During her seances, she gathered inspiration for her abstract paintings. Ultimately, in isolation, she started to experiment with an abstract, colorful, geometric style of painting that wouldn’t come into style for another couple decades.

 

When male painters such as Piet Mondrian, and Kazmir Malevich started to work in a style similar to Klint’s many years later, they were celebrated for creating a new style of painting. However, in reality, unknown to the rest of the world, Hilma af Klint had been painting in a similar way to years – only now is she being lauded for her contributions to the history and evolution of painting.

 

Paintings for the Future was a big hit, based on my experience. Multiple people have told me how much they enjoyed the show and how it gave them a glimpse into the life of this innovative artist. I would imagine we will be seeing more of Hilma af Klint’s work over the coming years, and I for one, am looking forward to it.

What do you think of the world of Klint? Are you a fan of her abstract, colorful style?

If you enjoyed this artist perspective, check out some other artists we love: the eccentric interior design and architecture of New England’s Sleeper-McCann house,  enjoying the awe-inspiring fabric installations of Rachel Hayes, and studying the dark collage installations of Kara Walker.

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