Title

Built for the Higher Beings: Hilma af Klint and the Construction of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Temple

Description/Abstract

Hilma af Klint was a Swedish painter who explored spiritualism, theosophy, and anthroposophy during her lifetime. Unlike her male contemporaries, af Klint worked on her abstract paintings in seclusion and never exhibited them. Instead of recognition, af Klint sought her work’s meaning from the spiritual “Higher Beings” that she claimed painted through her. From 1906 through 1915, af Klint painted one hundred ninety-three works for her series The Paintings for the Temple, which resulted from these divine interventions. Along with the series of paintings, af Klint planned for a spiraling temple to display them that would honor both the contents of the work and how they were created but was never able to build it. More than a hundred years after af Klint finished the series, the paintings found their true home along the walls of a spiraling temple. The exhibition Paintings for the Future at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City from October 2018 through April 2019 attracted more than 600,000 visitors, making it the most-visited show in the history of the museum, and the first major solo exhibit of af Klint’s work. Current scholars have acknowledged this coincidence but have not considered the possibility that the Guggenheim Museum was indirectly inspired by af Klint’s plans. This connection is evidenced by her journals, close examination of the paintings, and the relationship of spiritualist and art enthusiast Hilla Rebay to Mr. and Mrs. Guggenheim.

Presenting Author Name/s

Kayla Everett

Faculty Advisor

Vittorio Colaizzi

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Disciplines

Modern Art and Architecture | Painting | Women's History

Session Title

College of Arts & Letters 1

Location

Learning Commons @ Perry Library Room 1306

Start Date

2-8-2020 9:00 AM

End Date

2-8-2020 10:00 AM

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Feb 8th, 9:00 AM Feb 8th, 10:00 AM

Built for the Higher Beings: Hilma af Klint and the Construction of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Temple

Learning Commons @ Perry Library Room 1306

Hilma af Klint was a Swedish painter who explored spiritualism, theosophy, and anthroposophy during her lifetime. Unlike her male contemporaries, af Klint worked on her abstract paintings in seclusion and never exhibited them. Instead of recognition, af Klint sought her work’s meaning from the spiritual “Higher Beings” that she claimed painted through her. From 1906 through 1915, af Klint painted one hundred ninety-three works for her series The Paintings for the Temple, which resulted from these divine interventions. Along with the series of paintings, af Klint planned for a spiraling temple to display them that would honor both the contents of the work and how they were created but was never able to build it. More than a hundred years after af Klint finished the series, the paintings found their true home along the walls of a spiraling temple. The exhibition Paintings for the Future at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City from October 2018 through April 2019 attracted more than 600,000 visitors, making it the most-visited show in the history of the museum, and the first major solo exhibit of af Klint’s work. Current scholars have acknowledged this coincidence but have not considered the possibility that the Guggenheim Museum was indirectly inspired by af Klint’s plans. This connection is evidenced by her journals, close examination of the paintings, and the relationship of spiritualist and art enthusiast Hilla Rebay to Mr. and Mrs. Guggenheim.