A new audience and a long-awaited return: Hilma af Klint and "The Ten Largest" at Moderna Museet

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A new audience and a long-awaited return: Hilma af Klint and "The Ten Largest" at Moderna Museet
Hilma af Klint, The Ten Largest, Group IV, No 10, Old Age (Tempera on paper, mounted on canvas), 1907 © The Hilma af Klint Foundation Photo: Albin Dahlström/Moderna Museet.

STOCKHOLM.- After a nine-year long wait, visitors to Moderna Museet in Stockholm can once again enjoy the opportunity to see “The Ten Largest” by Hilma af Klint. Painted in 1907, these works are truly monumental in every sense of the word. Many will remember the series from the museum’s celebrated exhibition in 2013, “Hilma af Klint: Abstract pioneer”. Now a new generation of visitors can become acquainted with these enormous paintings. In the exhibition “Hilma af Klint: The Ten Largest” the works are accompanied by a selection of the artist’s watercolours and a series of hand-coloured photographs of the compositions that has never previously been exhibited in its entirety.

In the autumn of 1907 the Swedish artist Hilma af Klint (1862–1944) began the first painting in the series that would come to be known as “The Ten Largest”. Working on these ten paintings over a period of 40 days, the result she produced is one of the most outstanding achievements in her entire body of work.

The works are part of the series "Paintings for the Temple", an extensive project that Hilma af Klint had been instructed to complete by spirits two years before. These spirits told her that she would be instrumental in "communicating images to humanity of the life that exists beyond everything”.

The gigantic format of the paintings for “The Ten Largest” (3.28×2.40 metres) celebrates the four ages of humanity: Childhood, Youth, Adulthood and Old Age. The power of growth is a constant presence. Hilma af Klint is, however, rather more interested in the spiritual and mental development than the physical development.

Throughout her lifetime Hilma af Klint sought constantly to find the right context in which to exhibit her paintings, choosing to show them only to a limited number of people while waiting for the world to become ready to receive their message. Today, more than hundred years later, her work is met with acclaim across the globe.

Works in the exhibition “Hilma af Klint: The Ten Largest” are on display in two of the museum’s galleries. The exhibition is the result of close collaboration between Moderna Museet and the Hilma af Klint Foundation.

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