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Hilma af Klint - The Swan, No.12, Group IX, 1914-15

The Swan, No.12, Group IX, 1914-15
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Artist Biography
Hilma af KlintHilma af Klint was a Swedish artist and mystic whose paintings were amongst the first abstract art. A considerable body of her abstract work predates the first purely abstract compositions by Kandinsky. She belonged to a group called "The Five", a circle of women who shared her belief in the importance of trying to make contact with the outer world. Her paintings, which sometimes resemble diagrams, were a visual representation of complex spiritual ideas. However, it was not until her younger sister Hermina died that the spiritual dimension of her life began to develop.
The interest for abstraction and symbolism came from her involvement in Spiritism, very much en vogue at the end of the 19th and beginning of 20th century. In 1908 she would meet Rudolf Steiner, the founder of the Anthroposophical Society. Rudolf Steiner initiated her to his own theories regarding arts, and would have a certain influence on her paintings later in life. Klint created experimental automatic drawings as early as 1896, leading her towards an inventive geometric visual language capable of conceptualizing invisible forces both of the inner and outer worlds. She wrote in her notebook “The pictures were painted directly through me, without any preliminary drawings, and with great force. I had no idea what the paintings were supposed to depict.” All through her life, she would seek to understand the mysteries that she had come in contact with through her work. She left behind more than 150 notebooks with her thoughts and studies, yet never dared to show her abstract work to her contemporaries.