This piece is the last of Hilma af Klint’s The Ten Largest
abstract artworks. The last two paintings in the series deal with the final stage of human life: old age. Each painting in the series is dedicated to one of the four stages of life: Childhood
and Old Age
, with the most paintings dedicated to adulthood (4 in total, as compared to 2 each for childhood and old age). Here the ground has faded from the mauve of adulthood to a light pink colour, and this piece features four a grid with four different coloured corners, each made of 9 grid squares. This marks a departure from the rounded shapes that appeared in earlier paintings in the series, but the loops, spirals, floral symbols and scrolling letters are all still present.
Hilma af Klint
The Ten Largest, Group IV No. 10, Old Age
FSC Certified paper and wood
Date of work
Original: Tempera on paper, mounted on canvas 320 × 237 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.