New Hilma! This one’s for the youth
Alright all you Hilmaniacs, let’s say it together: Happy Birthday, Hilma af Klint! Tomorrow would be the mother of abstraction’s 160th birthday and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate than a brand new Vintage Edition from The Ten Largest series: The Ten Largest, No. 4, Youth, Group IV.
This limited-edition print is the ninth(!) af Klint to join our collection, and like the first it comes from a group of large scale, wall-dominating (nearly 10 foot by 9 foot) paintings called The Ten Largest—a subset of the artist’s series The Paintings for the Temple. Citing a spiritual force as the impetus behind the project and using her unique stylistic and symbolic vocabulary, af Klint set out to represent the various phases of the human life cycle in The Ten Largest, from early childhood through adulthood and old age. No. 4 directly follows No. 3 as the artist’s interpretation of the transitional period of youth.
We’re excited to add No. 4 to the mix because it fleshes out more of the astonishingly considered, idiosyncratic ways af Klint communicated via the conduit of her paintbrush. Its bright orange background seems to swell like a full vein, churning with colorful shapes and the spirals and swirls af Klint often used to signify growth, or evolution of a metaphysical flavor. No. 4 is very much in flux and serves as an energetic counterpoint to paintings of adulthood No. 6 and No. 7, which incorporate some more established-feeling, diagrammatic elements and letterforms.
Each of af Klint’s works at its core is meditative. Without any knowledge of the beliefs and motifs behind each piece, you’re drawn into the paintings by meandering lines and strategic color composition. Whether by instinctual thought patterns or connecting to something divine through art, af Klint’s work offers a momentary abstract escape.
Of course, we're hardly the only ones celebrating Hilma these days! With an upcoming exhibition at the Tate in 2023, a new and hotly anticipated biography by art historian Julie Voss (along with a graphic version for the teen art lovers in your life) and an upcoming English language biopic directed by Lasse Hallström it's safe to say that Hilmania is a global phenomenon, and a beautiful one at that.