Thursday, November 4, 2021

‘Rosicrucian artist exhibit opens’

Tree of Knowledge No. 1 by Hilma af Klint, watercolor, et al. on paper, 1913.

An exhibition of watercolors, painted by a renowned pioneer of Abstract art, opens today in a UES gallery.

Tree of Knowledge features eight paintings by Hilma af Klint (1862-1944), the Swedish painter said to be inspired by Rosicrucian and Anthroposophist thought. The works can be seen by the public, by appointment, at David Zwirner 69th Street. Click here for more information and to schedule a visit.

From the publicity:

David Zwirner is pleased to present Tree of Knowledge, an exhibition of a rare set of Hilma af Klint’s groundbreaking 1913-1915 series of works on paper of the same title, on view at the gallery’s 34 East 69th Street location in New York.

This recently discovered group of eight watercolors is among the few works by the artist to exist outside of the holdings of the Hilma af Klint Foundation.

Though little known during her lifetime and for decades after, Swedish artist Hilma af Klint has come to be recognized as one of the most important and inventive artists of the twentieth century. When she began making vibrant, symbolic paintings as early as 1906, her work was radically unlike anything that had come before, and preceded the abstract work of artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, and Kazimir Malevich by several years.

In the early 1920s, af Klint gave the set of watercolors as a gift to Rudolf Steiner, the founder of the spiritual and philosophical movement known as Anthroposophy, which influenced her. Around 1927, the works came into the possession of Albert Steffen, who became president of the Anthroposophical Society after Steiner’s death in 1925.

It was not known that af Klint had made two versions of the Tree of Knowledge suite (the other is in the holdings of the af Klint Foundation) until the recent re-discovery of this set in the Albert Steffen Stiftung, Dornach, Switzerland. It is currently owned by a private collector.

On the occasion of the exhibition, David Zwirner Books will publish a fully illustrated catalog around this body of work with a newly commissioned essay by celebrated af Klint scholar Julia Voss, whose comprehensively researched af Klint biography is forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press in September 2022.

Accompanying this exhibition, David Zwirner Online will present an Exceptional Works online viewing room exploring the history behind this remarkable set of watercolor works on paper.

I missed the Guggenheim exhibition a few years ago, but I don’t want to miss this. I’m going to alert the Anthroposophical Society too.

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