Painting and Spirituality

Hilma af Klint - Tyra Kleen - Lucie Lagerbielke

For a long time, mainstream art history had no categories, and as a matter of fact no interest, to adequately classify the mediumistic and spirit art that had developed since the middle of the 19th century. For a long time, art historians seemed to be satisfied by subsuming a partial aspect of this artistic creation under the term Art Brut, as proposed by Jean Dubuffet. Yet this conceptual corset eliminated many mediumistic artists. It was not until the end of the last century that the art-historical canon was beginning to become extended with regard to mediumistic art as an independent category. This was mainly due to the rediscovery of Hilma af Klint (1862-1944) and Georgiana Houghton (1814-1884), who were seen as protagonists for a complementary evaluation of abstraction in modern art. The spiritual essence of mediumistic art in the sense of a broader concept, and art created under the influence or in collaboration with unseen entities in the narrower sense, however, is still not been met yet in an adequate way by art historians dealing with these creations.

In Millesgården, near Stockholm, the narrative of spiritualism, theosophy, and mysticism in art is now beeing shown in an interesting exhibition of three Swedish artists. Alongside works of Hilma af Klint, the icon of the theosophically influenced abstract mediumistic art, paintings and drawings by Tyra Kleen (1874-1951) and Lucie Lagerbielke (1865-1931) are shown. It is a highly exciting compilation, especially since the artistic output of Tyra Kleen and Lucia Lagerbielke is still widely unknown.

Tyra Kleen's works cannot deny the influence of Symbolist mysticism in the art of Fin-de-Siècle and as she travelled extensively, she also incorporated an East Asian component into her visual language. Lucie Lagerbielke, on the other hand, comes entirely from a spiritualist milieu. Her sister Marie Louise married the diplomat of the Ottoman Empire Prince Jean Constantin Karadja Pascha and Princess Mary Karadja  became famous after the death of her husband in 1894 as a medium in occult and spiritualist circles. She also occasionally made mediumistic drawings. Lucie Lagerbielke claimed that the books she wrote, informed by theosophical ideas, and her drawings and paintings were produced under the influence of discarnate entities. While her drawings are often symbolic and allegorical works, her oil oils are depictions of fluid transitions from lush vegetation and organic forms to an abstract play of forms. She often signed these works with the name of her spirit guide Vitus.

Both Kleen and Lagerbielke are downright new discoveries, their works having very rarely been shown. Through this exhibition in the vicinity of the established Hilma af Klint a revaluation of their modes of expression and the milieu from which they originate is made possible.


milPainting and Spirituality
Hilma Af Klint - Tyra Kleen - Lucie Lagerbielke
Herserudsvägen 32, Lidingö


5 Oct 2019 – 9 Feb 2020






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