Food for the Soul: Hilma af Klint, the first abstractionist. Women Artists Series 5

Self-portrait. Hilma af Klint (1862-1944). Date of painting unknown. Hilma af Klint Foundation. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

By Nina Heyn – Your Culture Scout

The fact that painter Hilma af Klint has been unknown in the history of modern art is not that surprising. That even now she remains unknown is a bit more controversial.

There are several reasons for Hilma’s artistic obscurity, including in her native Sweden. During her active years in the early part of the 20th century, she exhibited only once, and most of her artwork was kept in storage not just during her lifetime but for decades afterwards. As a woman and a spiritualist, she was also shunned by mainstream art and cultural authorities. She remains relatively unknown because almost all her important paintings are kept together by her family foundation, outside any major museums. In other words – since her paintings aren’t owned by any modern art museums and they are not available for purchase by collectors, Hilma’s art remains obscure even though studying her art would revise the history of art entirely.

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