Originally a devout Christian she later became involved in spiritualism, and later followed a keen interest in the ideas of Rudolf Steiner's Rosicrucian theosophy and anthroposophy. These modes of spiritual engagement were popular across Europe - especially in artistic and literary circles. In 1896, she founded the informal group The Five, who perceived that they were in spiritual contact with The High Ones. Her mission to create the suite of Paintings for the Temple, executed between 1906 and 1915, would change her life. The abstract style of painting, loaded with symbolism was revolutionary and, in many ways, shocking. Hilma af Klint understood the uniqueness of her creation. She had a vision that her art would help to influence people's higher awareness, possibly even in the long run the entire society. However, she considered that her contemporaries were not mature. On the front page of her notebook from 1932, she noted a mandatory deadline - none of her works were to be shown publicly until 20 years after her death.
Now 90 years later, it is clear that Hilma af Klint has taken the art world by storm. From being virtually unknown, she has taken her place among the modern painters and her work is considered groundbreaking. She has, long after her death, redrawn the map of early abstract art, both in Sweden and internationally.
Hilma af Klint's dream of a spiral-shaped venue that would house the Paintings for the Temple has in a way come true. In 2019, the exhibition Hilma af Klint - Paintings for the Future opened at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. The celebrated exhibition attracted a record crowd of 600,000 spectators who patiently queued outside the characteristic spiral-shaped building.
Today, Hilma af Klint is more relevant than ever, her life and work has been celebrated in exhibitions, films, VR experiences and now most recently in an NFT-series.
Images: *"Morgon" (Morning), Signature, Hilma af Klint in the studio at Hamngatan in Stockholm c. 1885, The studio house with Blanche's Café at Hamngatan in Stockholm, Hilma af Klint exhibition view, Moderna Museet, 2013