Hilma af Klint’s botanical drawings and paintings, like this piece detailing a flowering orange Nasturtium, were a key source of financial income for the artist. Af Klint was a talented botanist, making her illustrations informed by both observation and knowledge. The plant she painted in watercolours here is a familiar sight in Europe, and is a member of the cabbage family, being a type of watercress. The whole of the plant, from leaves to blossoms, is edible.
Hilma af Klint
FSC Certified paper and wood
Date of work
Original: Watercolour and ink on paper 35 × 23.5 cm Hilma af Klint Foundation
Hilma af Klint (1862 – 1944) was a Swedish artist, considered to be the first abstract artist in Western art history. Talented in mathematics and botany, she studied painting at Tekniska skolan in Stockholm, and then the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. She initially painted landscapes, portraits and botanical illustrations, but from 1906 she began creating large scale abstract artworks as part of her explorations of theosophy and spiritualism. Believing herself to be guided by a higher power when creating these radically abstract works, she did not exhibit them in her lifetime, and left instructions for them not to be shown until two decades after her death. She is now recognized as a pioneer in abstraction, predating the works of Malevich, Kandinsky and Mondrian.