Female Artist Spotlight: Hilma af Klint

Hilma af Klint was a Swedish artist and spiritualist who produced the first abstract paintings, predating Kandinsky who is widely considered to be the first abstract artist. She was born in 1862 in Stockholm and went on to study at the city's Royal Academy of Arts graduating with honors and serving briefly as the secretary of the Association of Swedish Women Artists.


Hilma af klint Cynefn


Hilma was heavily influenced by spiritualism and geometry, becoming interested in the afterlife when her younger sister Hermina died. She felt that her work would not be understood in her own life time and requested that her 1,200 paintings, 100 texts and 26,000 pages of notes not be shown publicly until 20 years after her death. Hilma died of complications after a traffic accident in 1944 (age 81) as it was her work remained largely unseen until the late 1980's.

In the 1970s the Moderna Museet in Stockholm was offered a gift of her paintings, a donation which they declined. However, in 2018 they signed a contract with the Hilma af Klint Foundation to house a dedicated room of Hilma's work on a continuous basis.