Hilma af Klint

Discover the visionary artist disrupting art history

Installation view of the ‘Hilma af Klint: The Secret Paintings’ exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 12 June – 19 September 2021. Photo: AGNSW, Jenni Carter © AGNSW


More than a century ago, Swedish artist Hilma af Klint created paintings unlike anything that had come before. Monumental and wondrous, with enigmatic symbols and radiant colour combinations, they forged an entirely new language of abstract form. In an era of limited creative freedom for women, these visionary paintings became an outlet for af Klint’s prodigious intelligence and spiritual quest. She instructed that her paintings remain hidden until 20 years after her death, believing audiences of her time were not yet ready to understand her art. Ultimately, it took several decades longer for her remarkable secret paintings to be revealed to the world.

Hilma af Klint: The Secret Paintings is the first Australian survey of this important artist, who is now taking her place within the canon of modern 20th-century art. A selection of paintings from her decade-long project The paintings for the temple 1906–15 is accompanied by drawings, watercolours and detailed notebooks that reveal her working processes and her deep connection with nature.

Influenced by religious and occult practices, ranging from spiritualism to theosophy and Rosicrucianism, af Klint painted as a medium. She attributed the origin of her paintings to the spirit guides she channelled and was convinced her art contained a ‘message for humanity’. Today it speaks to us of a holistic respect for nature and our place in the universe, an openness to spirit as well as mind, and an inspiring and courageous artistic achievement.


“Life is an illusion if a person does not serve the truth”

- Hilma af Klint

Hilma af Klint virtual visit

Discover the visionary artist disrupting art history through this exclusive virtual exhibition Hilma af Klint: The Secret Paintings. ​

This self-guided visit shows the works of art in-situ within the Gallery space. You can learn more about the works with clickable grey hotspots to access label text for each artwork. To move between rooms, click on the ‘View Floor Plan’ icon on the bottom left-hand side of your screen.

Virtual exhibition visit