The CoMA is proud to announce an extraordinary new acquisition: It is the convolute of all surviving mediumistic drawings created in the Edelweiss Society (Edelweissförbundet). Founded in 1890 by Huldine Beamish (1836-1892), the Edelweiss Society was a Swedish religious association based on spiritualist ideas and practices. The convolute includes more than 200 drawings, along with equally mediumistically received explanations for them. Until now, the works have been owned by the artist, photographer and last president of the Edelweiss Society, Monica von Rosen Nestler, whose great-great grandmother was the Society’s founder Huldine Beamish.

From its beginnings, members of the Edelweiss Society’s inner circle, most of whom were women, acted as mediums, receiving messages from higher beings in written form and, more importantly, in symbolic automatic drawings. Among the founding members was the artist and photographer Bertha Valerius (1824-1895), who had previously gained notoriety as a writing and drawing medium and had herself started a religious federation called the Cloverleaf Society (Klöverbladed). She was also the mentor of the young Hilma af Klint (1862-1944) and it was most probably she who introduced Hilma af Klint to the Edelweiss Society, where she regularly participated in the séances over an extended period of time.

EWFüIn the summer of last year, I had met Monica von Rosen Nestler and had been allowed to consult her archives in Lucerne, Switzerland. Immediately we had a special connection and shared the passion for the extraordinary drawings and their enigmatic symbolic content. It happened that Monica von Rosen Nestler was considering parting with the archive and placing it in suitable hands. Now, above all, she would like to devote herself intensively to her artistic work again and furthermore, after years of intense research, write about the matrilineal ancestral line of her family, which has produced impressive, powerful independent minded women in every generation. Very quickly we agreed that I could acquire the section of the archive with the drawings for my collection. The other very comprehensive records of the Edelweiss Society consisting of séance protocols and records of visions as well as information about the statutes, proceedings and members of the Society though many decades, collected in numerous notebooks will later be given to the Lund University Library. Until then I may use them for study to see if important questions concerning the mediumistic drawings can be illuminated from these records.

I am particularly pleased that the famous image of Christ by Bertha Valerius is also part of the Edelweiss Association's pictorial works, which have now found its new home in The Collection of Mediumistic Art. Bertha Valerius worked for decades on the iconic painting, which was created stroke by stroke through mediumistic inspiration. It held a place of honor in the Edelweiss Chapel until its dissolution in the early 21st century. A reproduction of the painting also hung above the alter of the “Five,” a group of five women around Hilma af Klint who met regularly for ten years beginning in 1896 for mediumistic séances at which messages were received and automatic drawings made. The reception history of the image of Christ by Bertha Valerius is of great importance, not least because of the wide distribution of reproductions up to the present day.

For the CoMA, the acquisition of the mediumistic drawings of the Edelweiss Association represents a new stage and a special commitment. On the one hand, the focus of the collection will be even stronger on the historical development of mediumistic artistic productions – a goal I always had in mind with my collection. On the other hand, I am now in possession of a unique collection that not only makes in-depth specific research possible, but virtually demands it.

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