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Female Denied As Being One Of Best Abstract Artists
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Female Denied As Being One Of Best Abstract Artists

It is fairly common knowledge that the art world has mostly been dominated and established by men. Abstract art was thought to be defined by Wassily Kandinsky, Frantisek Kupka and Piet Mondrian and other men who were the best abstract artists of the time. As a matter of fact, Kandinsky vigorously promoted himself as the original abstract artist from a 1911 painting he created. As history tells us, Kandinsky was successful in his efforts, for it is generally accepted that he is the father of this art movement.

Enter Hilma af Klint - Stage Right

Now, lets move on up to February 2013. There is an exhibition currently running at the Moderna Museet, Stockholm Sweden for Swedish painter Hilma af Klint (1862-1944). Her works are being shown along side of all the best abstract artists.

This show is creating headlines because of her newly discovered abstract art dating back to 1906. Beautiful, articulate work having all the earmarks of abstract art. Including (but not limited to) geometric circles, flowers, odd shapes, juxtaposed bright color combinations and (of course) conceptual composition. This is a bomb because the self professed "Father of Abstract" Wassily Kandinsky claims his 1911 piece started the movement.

Hilma af Klint was obviously a talented and a successful artist in her own right. Excelling as a painter of portraits and landscapes as her livelihood. But, (and here comes the rub) Hilma af Klint also had an affinity towards the occult and spiritualism from an early age. By her own volition, she admits these works emerged through seances she held. Participants would let the spirits flow thought them guiding pencil and pen to paper. This would be the origin of af Klint's obsession with abstract images.

She was quite aware of this "abstract" side of her work being suspect, ahead of it's time or generally unacceptable. So, she hid these works of art and forbid them to be released to the public for no less than 20 years after her death. Well, it took more like 43 years to discover her to be one of the best abstract artists, if not originator of the movement.

The Questionable Argument

The argument currently is that her "abstract work" was not exposed to the public at the time she was creating it. Modern Art's value and/or history is created in the marketplace. Her work has not been bought by museums or serious collectors, so it has not been traded enough to show its true value. Although her naturalist works "Paintings For The Temple" series has been exhibited world wide, the abstract pieces were not.

To this author, it is irrelative. Once you gaze and bask in the beauty and originality of Hilma af Klint's abstract art work you may agree that, in actuality, she did originate abstract art and was a valid pioneer of this movement.


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