|A centrepiece of the exhibition is The Ten Largest 1907, ten huge exuberantly colourful paintings, brimming with wondrous arrangements of shapes and motifs, through which the artist explores the four stages of human development.
Other highlights include af Klint’s rarely seen early botanical watercolours; her experiments with the spiritualist group The Five; a large selection of works from the Paintings for the Temple cycle; more than 30 abstract watercolours from the last decades of the artist’s life, several of which have never before been placed on public exhibition; and a selection of notebooks, which give fascinating insights into her influences and processes.
Hilma af Klint: The Secret Paintings is supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW and presented with the cooperation of The Hilma af Klint Foundation, Stockholm in association with Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne.
Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said the Australian exclusive was an exciting addition to the state’s cultural calendar.
“As identified in our recently launched Visitor Economy Strategy 2030, investing in world-class events is a key pillar in achieving our goal to be the premier visitor economy in the Asia Pacific,” Mr Ayres said.
“When New York City’s prestigious Guggenheim Museum presented a Hilma af Klint exhibition in 2018-19, it broke attendance records.
“Hilma af Klint: The Secret Paintings will be a must-see event when it opens in Sydney this June and will play an important role in attracting visitors and Sydneysiders to the heart of our Harbour City.”
Born in Stockholm in 1862, af Klint was one of the first women to study painting at the city’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts, graduating with honours in 1887. She established herself as a respected painter in Stockholm and, like many of her contemporaries, became deeply engaged with spiritualism, Rosicrucianism, and Theosophy, which had a profound influence on her practice.
In 1896, af Klint and four other like-minded women founded a spiritual group named The Five and studied esoteric texts, conducted séances, exercised automatic writing and mediumistic drawing. Following a traffic accident, Klint died in the autumn of 1944, aged almost 82, leaving behind more than 1,300 rarely seen works and 124 notebooks. Her works have since been displayed in major museums in New York, London, Stockholm and São Paulo.
The illustrated book Hilma af Klint: The Secret Paintings includes new writing by Sue Cramer (editor), Nicholas Chambers, Jennifer Higgie, Aaron Lister and Julia Voss.
Hilma af Klint: The Secret Paintings is presented at the Art Gallery of NSW from 12 June to 19 September 2021 with tickets on sale soon.
The Gallery will continue to be guided by the NSW Government’s health guidelines. For more information, please visit our website.
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