She showed an early aptitude for visual art and completed her schooling in Stockholm. She studied at what’s now known as Konstfack (the University of Arts, Crafts, and Design), where she focused on portraits and landscapes, and then the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (among the first European institutions of its kind to admit women). She was awarded a scholarship in the form of a small shared studio in Stockholm and honed her talents working on landscapes, botanical drawings, and portraits.
At the Royal Academy, she met Anna Cassel, the first of the four women with whom she later worked in The Five (De Fem), a group of artists who shared a similar vision and regularly engaged in paranormal activities including organized séances. Through her work with the group, af Klint developed her idiosyncratic style with a keen focus on spirituality.
The secretive artist never knew fame during her lifetime; she refused to show her abstract pieces to her contemporaries and exhibited her works only a handful of times, mainly at spiritual conferences and gatherings. She specified that her work should be kept secret for at least 20 years after her death.
Af Klint’s collection of more than 1,200 abstract paintings is owned and managed by the Hilma af Klint Foundation in Stockholm. The city’s Moderna Museet (Museum of Modern Art) displays a selection of her works on a continuous basis. Over the years, the museum has broken down the symbolism contained in her work and peeled back the curtains behind her enigmatic persona by hosting exhibitions and events, including the 2019 world premiere of Hilma, an opera about her spiritualistic work and hidden art.
Winslow Homer (1836-1910), a landscape painter and printmaker, remains best known for his marine subjects.
After achieving success—first in commercial illustration, then in oil paintings—with stops in major cities such as New York, Paris, and his hometown of Boston, Homer transitioned over to watercolors and landscapes. In 1881, Homer embarked on an 18-month visit to Cullercoats, a town on the rugged northeastern coast of England, and was deeply affected as he witnessed the residents’ dealings with nature. The artist depicted the town’s fishermen and women as they battled the elements, showing them set against the unforgiving cliffs, rocks, and mountains.