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Abstract Theosophy by Hilma Af Klint

Abstract Theosophy by Hilma Af Klint

Hilma af Klint (Karlberg 1862-1944 Djursholm) was a Swedish painter and the first painter to work abstractly. Just as Vermeer was forgotten for 200 years before becoming the star of today, you can now witness the rediscovery of the abstract theosophist Hilma af Klint in the Kunstmuseum The Hague.

Malevich, Mondrian and Kandinsky are often seen as the pioneers of modern art. Yet Hilma Af Klint had been painting abstract paintings for years, before these male celebrities left figurative art behind. In colorful works, full of round and spiral shapes.

An important source of inspiration for Af Klint was theosophy. She saw nature as an intermediary to a spiritual higher truth. She therefore filled her canvases with spirals and botanical shapes, such as clovers, trees and chalices. In Kunstmuseum Den Haag a true show room has been set up for Af Klint's most famous series: the Ten Greatest.

Mondriaan and Af Klint both painted on theosophical subjects such as 'evolution' and 'life force'. The interest in theosophy is also the main reason for a comparison with Piet Mondriaan. Yet his explanation of Theosophy was somewhat different. After all, Mondriaan saw the best way to reach a deeper spiritual core in the most elementary shapes and colors. Mondriaan takes a turn towards hard lines and elementary colours, while Af Klint is much freer and achieves a higher spirituality by painting round shapes. The art museum makes sense of the similarities at first; a bit contrived or forced because Mondriaan is a better known name but alah.

The highlight of the exhibition is the series 'the Swan' that she made during the First World War. Af Klint saw the swan as a symbol of unity. In ten paintings, the white and black swans slowly change into abstract circles, as a symbol of connection and hope for peace. The same sense of unity can be found in the series of works that Af Klint made about world religions. She uses the same forms from different perspectives to represent the theosophical idea that all religions are made up of the same core values.

Hilma-af-Klint-The-Swan-The-SUW-Series-Group-IX-Part-I-no.-1-1914-1915-Courtesy-Hilma-af-Klint-Foundation
Hilma-af-Klint-The-Swan-The-SUW-Series-Group-IX-Part-I-no.-1-1914-1915-Courtesy-Hilma-af-Klint-Foundation
Hilma-af-Klint-The-Swan--1915-Courtesy-Hilma-af-Klint-Foundation
Hilma-af-Klint-The-Swan--1915-Courtesy-Hilma-af-Klint-Foundation

 

Tot 24 feb 24 in kunstmuseum Den Haag

 

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