secret paintings from ‘trailblazing’ artist heading to Sydney

An exhibition that broke all attendance records at New York’s Guggenheim Museum two years ago will make its way to Australia in June.



a man standing in front of a mirror: Photograph: Dpa Picture Alliance/Alamy Stock Photo


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Dpa Picture Alliance/Alamy Stock Photo

Art Gallery of New South Wales director Michael Brand announced Hilma af Klint: The Secret Paintings on Thursday, describing the large-scale exhibition as “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to discover the extraordinary artistic achievements of this trailblazing artist who stood for too long outside the accepted story of European modernism”.



a man standing in front of a building: Works by Swedish painter Hilma af Klint (1862-1944) hanging in the 2018 exhibition Paintings for the Future at New York’s Guggenheim Museum.


© Photograph: Dpa Picture Alliance/Alamy Stock Photo
Works by Swedish painter Hilma af Klint (1862-1944) hanging in the 2018 exhibition Paintings for the Future at New York’s Guggenheim Museum.

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More than 100 af Klint works will travel to Sydney, including her acclaimed The Ten Largest (1907), 10 expansive and brilliantly coloured canvases exploring the human life cycle.

It will be the first time the works have travelled to the Asia Pacific region.

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a person sitting in a chair with a stuffed animal: Since 1989, the London Art Fair has been a bastion of emerging talent and a showcase for those at the forefront of the global modern and contemporary art scene. This year, its 33rd incarnation will, of course, be a little different - existing as a fully digital fair, from 20 - 31 January. While we may not be able to mull around the rooms with a glass of wine, we can still peruse the wide range of stunning art on display from the comfort of our own homes. The fair can be fully explored online; divided by artist and gallery, or filtered through expert curation. There are also a wealth of talks and workshops throughout the fair that are well worth checking out - not least their very own virtual wine tasting. Need help cutting through the easels? Here's our pick of five standout galleries to divert your scroll to:

Although Wassily Kandinsky is generally credited as the father of western abstract art, Af Klint began her foray into the genre in 1906, some years before the Russian painter entered his Blue Rider period.

But the Swedish artist kept her abstract works hidden for decades, believing the world was not ready to understand them.



a group of people standing in a room: Museum goers at the Guggenheim Museum in New York view the Hilma af Klint exhibition, the most popular show ever at the museum, in 2018/2019. Photograph: David Grossman/Alamy Stock Photo


© Provided by The Guardian
Museum goers at the Guggenheim Museum in New York view the Hilma af Klint exhibition, the most popular show ever at the museum, in 2018/2019. Photograph: David Grossman/Alamy Stock Photo

Before she died in 1944, Af Klint left instructions that some 1,300 rarely seen works, many of enormous scale and radiant colour, should remain hidden for at least two decades.

When her family rediscovered the trove in the late 1960s, they offered it up as a gift to Stockholm’s Moderna Museet, which promptly rejected the offer.

“In an era of limited creative freedom for women, Af Klint’s secret paintings became an outlet for her prodigious intelligence, spiritual quest and ground-breaking artistic vision,” said Brand.

“Very few of [her works] were exhibited during her lifetime, and only in the last decade have these works started to receive the detailed attention they deserve. Af Klint is at last taking her place in the canon of truly imaginative and innovative twentieth century artists.”

• Hilma af Klint: The Secret Paintings will open at the Art Gallery of New South Wales on 12 June and continue until 19 September.