Hilma af Klint was a Swedish artist and pioneer in abstract painting. In her early career, she studied in Stockholm with a focus primarily on landscape and portrait painting. On a field trip to Switzerland, she met Rudolf Steiner and was inspired by his anthroposophic ideas; following this encounter af Klint developed an interest in the occult. Upon her return to Sweden she joined a spiritualist group called The Five that established contact with a “higher master” from another dimension. The messages she received during seances led her to develop the concept for a new language of design. Af Klint turned to abstract painting and is considered to be one of the first abstract artists.
She is well-known for her series Målningar till Templet (Paintings for the Temple), comprising 193 works created between 1906 and 1915. Through this series Hilma wanted to convey knowledge about the unity of everything beyond the visible world. The Swan is another acclaimed series of 24 paintings depicting a swan in black and white. Moderna Museet in Stockholm held a large exhibition of Hilma af Klint’s work in 2013, which included the majority of her artistic production.