In an age when men claimed primary status as creators, af Klint became a medium – the ultimate passive, receptive state – and used it to secure her independence; to be more than a copyist and decorator. At a time when strong spiritual currents like Theosophy, which adherents considered a science rather than a religion, achieved cult status, she studied a variety of wisdom traditions from the East and West along with Theosophy and Anthroposophy, without rejecting her Lutheran heritage and living by her own ascetic regimen.
(This quote is linked to the article, a book review of With Great Force Swiftly and Surely, by Cindi Di Marz
Hilma af Klint has only very recently become known to the world although she was born in 1862 and passed in 1944. Upon her death she asked her nephew, who was left to manage her very extensive artistic estate, to wait 20 years after her death to show her work. af Klint felt that her work would not be understood at the time of her passing nor during her lifetime. She is now being called the first abstract painter, as her first series titled "Temple" was painted in 1906, which predates painters like Kandinsky and Mondrian who lay claims to being the first at abstract painting. af Klint considered the Temple series to be a commission as she received instruction from the spirit world which she described as coming to her "with great force swiftly and surely" without need for her own consideration, sketching or planning of any kind. af Klint held seances and developed her spiritual practice with a group of women called The Five or the Friday Group (because they met every Friday!) In 1888 she joined the Theosophical Society and after this point her work focused primarily on painting her spiritual work and left landscape and portraiture behind. In these works af Klint developed a symbolic language that she documented extensively in journals which remain in her estate, and now published. af Klint merged her artistic self with her spiritual and mediumship self to produce a phenomenal body of work, as well as her writings.