New York

View of “Hilma af Klint,” 2018–19. From left: Group X, No. 2, Altarpiece, 1915; Group X, No. 3, Altarpiece, 1915; Group X, No. 1, Altarpiece, 1915. Photo: David Heald.

Hilma af Klint

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum | New York

View of “Hilma af Klint,” 2018–19. From left: Group X, No. 2, Altarpiece, 1915; Group X, No. 3, Altarpiece, 1915; Group X, No. 1, Altarpiece, 1915. Photo: David Heald.

Perhaps more than a painter, Hilma af Klint (1862–1944) was a profound seeker. During her adolescence in her home country of Sweden, she attended séances so that she might commune with the dead. A precocious student at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm, she deepened her commitment to spiritualism; later, she opened herself to theosophy, Buddhism, and Rosicrucianism, among other teachings. As a young woman, she worked as a scientific illustrator, so dutiful was her attention to nature—her own canvases at that time were rather straightforward portraits and landscapes. But in 1906, at the age of forty-four, she turned her attention away from the material world and devoted herself wholly to mystical realms. Her hand found its true purpose: to make visible what the eye cannot see, to communicate esoteric knowledge without betraying it or distorting it with earthly

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