Abstract painter Hilma af Klint (1862–1944) was a visionary artist who knew she was ahead of her time. The Guggenheim Museum presents her first major solo show in the United States,” Hilma af Klint : Painting for the Future”. Opening today the landmark exhibition of 120 works of art graces 5 tiers of the spiraling Frank Lloyd Wright rotunda of the Guggenheim. Begun over a century ago af Klint’s radical art is contemporary in the use of bold color, symbolism, fluid movement, geometric shapes and symbols. The abstract narrative of her stunning collection denotes divine love, sacredness, duality and faith.
Her formal academic art education with honors started at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts ( Kungl. Konstakademien) in Stockholm not long after the school began to admit women. Hilma established herself as a respected painter of traditional portraits and landscapes. She turned to modernism after the loss of her sister and a growing interest in philosophical studies. af Klint’s abstract inspiration was deeply rooted in her spiritualism and belief in mysticism.
Her desire to never break up her collection and exhibit twenty years after her passing in a spiraling temple was intuitive spiritual guidance. She acknowledged in her time the world wasn’t ready for abstract art and women artists to be taken seriously.
Forty -two years later her nephew Johan af Klint approached galleries who showed little interest to exhibit her artwork that had laid in storage. Her family gathered her artistic legacy of 1300 figurative paintings, 125 notebooks and sketchbooks and created The Hilma af Klint Foundation with the mission to exhibit her work worldwide and academic research. The bulk of her collection has been displayed at Moderna Museet in Stockholm. Over the past three decades, af Klimt’s paintings and works on paper received the serious attention of the art world. Reshaping the art history conversation who was the first purely abstract artist, the Swedish painter predates Kandinsky, Franz Marc and Piet Mondrian.
Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future is supported by LLWW Foundation, the Juliet Lea Hillman Simonds Foundation, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, The Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, the Robert Lehman Foundation, and The American-Scandinavian Foundation. Guggenheim Senior Curator and Director of Collections Tracey Bashkoff assisted by Curator Assistant David Horowitz features work from her early works through to the breakthrough years with the cooperation of the Hilma af Klint Foundation, Stockholm. Hilma af Klint painted for the future. The future is now.
The show “Hilma af Klint: Painting for the Future” runs October 12th, 2018 -February 3, 2019 at the Guggenheim Museum on 1071 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
All Art work courtesy of The Hilma af Klint Foundation, Stockholm
Photo credit : Albin Dahlström, the Moderna Museet, Stockholm