After 1920, Hilma af Klint no longer painted as though she were a vessel for a higher power, channeling their vision through her. Instead, she focused on her own abstract forms, exploring various religious and philosophical theories and ideas. Some of these use mathematical or geometric imagery, such as this piece which uses very deliberate shapes and colours. Many of the paintings in Series V
feature similar squares, triangles and lines to those found here. The artist painted this piece, No.5, using graphite and oil paint, with the bronze disc at the top in metallic paint.
Hilma af Klint
Series V, No. 5
FSC Certified paper and wood
Date of work
Original: Oil, metallic paint and graphite on canvas 39 × 28.5 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.