Hilma af Klint: Spiritualism & Aesthetics

Hilma af Klint, The Seven-Pointed Star, No. 2, 1908, tempera, gouache, and graph
Hilma af Klint, The Seven-Pointed Star, No. 2, 1908, tempera, gouache, and graphite on paper mounted on canvas, 29 x 24 inches

Altoon Sultan blogs about the paintings of Hilma Af Klint.

Sultan writes: "The seeds of this work was in a spiritualist group that she and four women friends formed in the 1890s, called The Five, where they would practice automatic drawing. A spiritualist medium was one profession in which women excelled and were respected. And lest you scoff, dear readers, during that time it was a widespread practice; even such a pragmatic thinker as William James engaged in seances. There was a desire to reach the world beyond our merely physical one... ....the form, the color, the intricate drawing were passed to her from one of her spirit guides. She was a pure medium, changing nothing, working directly, through the years 1906-1908; from 1912-15 she had some discretion in her painting. Would she have ever made these marvelous paintings, so full of light and color, with such inventive form, if she hadn't felt she'd been guided?"