Klint, Hilma af (1862 – 1944), artist
Born in 1862 at Karlberg Castle in Stockholm. Due to her artistic talents, she enrolled at the Technical School, today’s Art College, and then continued to the Swedish Royal Academy of Arts, which she left in 1887. She became a competent portrait and landscape painter and, in this category, could have had a mediocre career had she not joined the Theosophical Society in 1889.
Together with friends, she formed the group “The Five”. The group held secret seances in which automatic drawing was practised. They believed they could make direct contact with the spirit world and in 1904 Klint was commissioned to secretly paint a large work on what could be called the astral plane.
In 1906, Hilma began to create the paintings entitled “Paintings for the Temple”. In total, these numbered 193 works and were one of the very first non-figurative paintings in the western world. After her death, she left some 1300 works as well as 125 notebooks and sketchbooks. However, in her will she instructed that nothing was to be shown until at least twenty years after her death
In 1920 Hilma af Klint moved to Helsingborg and in 1935 to Lund, where she lived at Grönegatan 28.
In 1944, she returned north where she died in Djursholm from the aftereffects of an accident. Not many people were aware of her life’s work. No evidence exists either of her allowing herself to be influenced by the imaginative design of her time. It was her own inner spiritualism that gave her inspiration, resulting in a highly personal world of consistent abstract images. It was not until 1986 that her first major exhibition took place.
Hilma af Klint’s artwork is managed by a foundation. At the Modern Museum (Moderna Museet) in Stockholm, a room has been specially dedicated to her work. She is constantly receiving attention around the world. In August 2019, for example, her work was exhibited in Tel Aviv after being shown at the Guggenheim gallery in New York.
Hilma af Klint is an artist with a difference. Well known in the art world but relatively unknown here in Sweden. This anonymous woman is therefore one of our truly noteworthy residents of Lund.
Text: Ingrid Meijling