Hilma af Klint: The Secret Paintings

Your chance to see radically abstract paintings by the Swedish artist who rewrote art history at this New Zealand exclusive exhibition

Hilma af Klint Photo Asa Lunden Moderna Museet Stockholm

When

4 Dec 2021 – 27 Mar 2022

Location

City Gallery Wellington

Te Ngākau Civic Square, 101 Wakefield Street

Accessibility

Wheelchair accessible

When Hilma af Klint died in 1944, she left behind more than 1,300 works, which had only been seen by a handful of people, and the instructions that her work should not be publicly displayed until 20 years after her death.

The eventual discovery of af Klint’s work turned art history on its head. Remarkably, her first abstract paintings were made several years prior to those of her more famous male contemporaries Kazimir Malevich, Vassily Kandinsky and Piet Mondrian — artists commonly considered ‘the fathers of abstract art’.

Hilma af Klint double 2

City Gallery Wellington is the only New Zealand venue for the exhibition which will feature more than 100 paintings, including The Ten Largest – exuberantly colourful paintings that are towering three-plus metres tall, through which the artist explores the four stages of human development. Other major series from the artist’s Paintings for the Temple cycle will also be on show including The Swan and The Dove, which are filled with drama and symbolism.

Other exhibition highlights are af Klint’s rarely seen early botanical watercolours; her experiments with the spiritualist group The Five; more than 30 abstract watercolours from the last decades of the artist’s life, several of which have never been exhibited in public before; and a selection of notebooks, which give fascinating insights into her influences and processes.

In an era of limited creative freedom for women artists, af Klint found a way to create an astonishing body of artwork, unlike anything that had been seen before

Image: Hilma af Klint at her studio at Hamngatan 5, Stockholm C1895. Photograph courtesy the Hilma af Klint Foundation, Stockholm

Helma af Klint City Gallery Wellington portrait of the artist v2

There is a huge appetite for af Klint’s work globally. The Guggenheim Museum's exhibition of af Klint's work in 2018-19 became the most visited exhibition in the gallery's history with over 600,000 visitors.

The Moderna Museet in Stockholm had over one million visitors to its 2013 exhibition, also their largest ever attendance.  In other words, get in quick to see the exhibition at City Gallery Wellington.

Hilma swan rework

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