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Hilma af Klint Has Arrived in the Hudson Valley

Installation view of Hilma af Klint at Lightforms Art Center in the Hudson Valley (images courtesy of Lightforms Art Center)

Without much promotion or fanfare, the Lightforms Art Center in the Hudson Valley opened an exhibition today, March 6, featuring a selection of works by the posthumously celebrated Swedish artist, Hilma af Klint.

The exhibition features artworks from the artist’s Tree of Knowledge series, along with one of her plant sketchbooks. The works are on loan from the Albert Steffen Foundation in Dornach, Switzerland. It is the first exhibition of the artist’s works in the Hudson Valley.

The Tree of Knowledge series combines elements from the Garden of Eden parable with influences from Eastern religions and af Klint’s spiritual studies, as well as her background in botanical illustrations.

Works from the Tree of Knowledge series

Af Klint started creating her first works of abstract art in 1906, predating Kandinsky and other known abstract painters. In the six years that followed, she created 200 paintings, along with complementary works on paper and notebooks documenting her plans, thoughts, and research for the creation of her works.

“We are invited to think of the twelve signs of the zodiac, the twelve months of the year or the twelve petaled lotus flower,” Martina Angela Müller writes in a text for the exhibition. “Multiple lemniscates as symbols of the infinite enclosing both blue and yellow tones that symbolize male and female in af Klint’s symbolic language, float freely in the canopy of the tree like blossoms in a verdant spring.”

Drawings from af Klint’s plant sketchbook

Last year, a survey of af Klint’s works at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City shattered records and become the museum’s most visited exhibition in its 60-year history. Hilma Af Klint: Paintings for the Future (October 2018-April 2019) drew 600,000 visitors to the museum.

Hilma af Klint runs through June 29, 2020, at Lightforms Art Center (743 Columbia St., Hudson, NY).