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This Gallery Is Bringing the Paintings of Mysterious Swedish Artist Hilma af Klint to New Zealand

The exhibition will feature more than 100 paintings, including colourful works that stand more than three metres tall.
By Stephen Heard
March 30, 2021
By Stephen Heard
March 30, 2021

City Gallery Wellington Te Where Toi is bringing the abstract paintings of Swedish artist Hilma af Klint to New Zealand for the first time. Hilma af Klint: The Secret Paintings will showcase the artist whose mysterious works have captivated audiences and broken records for attendance worldwide, including major galleries such as the Guggenheim Museum in New York, where in 2019 it attracted the largest audience in the museum's 60-year history.

Af Klint began creating her most ambitious paintings in 1906. Some are huge in scale with radiant colour combinations, enigmatic symbols and otherworldly shapes. Influenced by spiritualist practices and scientific discoveries, af Klint saw herself as a receiver of messages from higher powers, which guided the creation of her work. She instructed her paintings be kept secret until 20 years after her death — convinced that the world was not yet ready to see her art.

The exhibition at City Gallery will feature more than 100 paintings, including 'The Ten Largest' — colourful paintings that reach three-plus metres tall and which the artist explores the four stages of human development. Other major series from 'Paintings for the Temple' will also be on show. Other exhibition highlights are af Klint's rarely seen early botanical watercolours, her experiments with the spiritualist group The Five, more than 30 abstract watercolours from the last decades of her life and a selection of notebooks.

Hilma af Klint: The Secret Paintings will run at City Gallery Wellington from Saturday, December 4, 2021 Sunday, March 27, 2022. For more information and to register for tickets, visit

Image: The Ten Largest, 1907. Photo courtesy of Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden.

Published on March 30, 2021 by Stephen Heard
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