PAINTING AND SPIRITUALITY
HILMA AF KLINT - TYRA KLEEN - LUCIE LAGERBIELKE
5 OCT 2019 – 9 FEB 2020

In the autumn, Millesgården will present the exhibition Painting and Spirituality – Hilma af Klint, Tyra Kleen and Lucie Lagerbielke, featuring some 20 works by each artist. In addition to painting, drawings, graphics and embroidery, the exhibition will include a number of objects related to its topic. We will also present some of the philosophies that inspired the artists, including spiritualism, theosophy and anthroposophy.

The artists shared an interest in spirituality, which affected not only their art but also their
lives. They were also writers, who committed their thoughts and experiences to paper. They all enjoyed privileged backgrounds; Hilma af Klint and Tyra Kleen were aristocrats and Lucie Lagerbielke, the daughter of one of Sweden’s richest men, married into the aristocracy. All made life choices that at the time were considered unusual for women; they were intellectuals and prioritised their work and their art before family and children. Despite common points of departure and interests, their art differs greatly, both in terms of expression and working methods.

Hilma af Klint (1862-1944) has received much acclaim in recent years after several international
exhibitions of her work. She stipulated that several of her paintings and works on paper should not be displayed publicly until twenty years after her death. However, it would take longer than that before Hilma af Klint’s art was finally seen. Today, her work attracts much attention and is very well received. A talented artist, Hilma af Klint was educated at the Technical School and the Royal Academy of Art in Stockholm where she painted portraits and landscapes. She took an early interest in spiritual matters and participated in spiritualistic séances. During a séance at the beginning of the 20th century, she was commissioned by another dimension to create art. In the first years of the 20th century, she sensationally painted works in an entirely abstract almost concretist style. These abstract paintings are full of symbols. She claimed that she, periodically, was directed by a higher power that used her as an instrument for mediating information from other worlds. Her painting was primarily influenced by Rosenkreutz, Theosophy and Christianity. At the age of 60, Hilma af Klint began to study anthroposophy and recorded her thoughts on the life of the soul and the spiritual dimensions she wished to convey via her art in 124 books of more than 26,000 handwritten and typed pages. Her manuscript “Studies of the Life of the Soul”, 1917, comprises in excess of 2000 typed pages.

 Tyra Kleen (1874-1951) worked with drawing, painting, photography, lithography and writing. A self-claimed vagabond, she spent much time abroad. Studying in Paris at the turn of the century, she was influenced by symbolism and interested in theosophical mysticism and spiritualism. In Stockholm and later in Rome, her interest intensified and she joined a theosophical association. Tyra Kleen was a prominent draughtswoman for whom form was always more important than colour. Although representative, her art depicts worlds beyond the physical and motifs inspired
by myths and legends. She sought out countries where a spiritual approach to life was considered normal. In 1911, she travelled to Sri Lanka and India, and in 1914 she journeyed to Indonesia where she stayed for two years. She described her experiences in images and texts. The paintings from this period were exhibited at Liljevalchs, Stockholm. Tyra Kleen also made the decision that her art should not be publicly displayed until 50 years after her death. Therefore, it is only in the 21st century that her work has been recognised.

 Lucie Lagerbielke (1865-1931), née Smith, was an author of theosophical books and an artist. The daughter of L. O. Smith, a Swedish spirits manufacturer and politician, known as the “King of Spirits”, she married into the noble Lagerbielke family and had two daughters. In 1906, when she was widowed, she began to engage seriously in writing and painting and was strongly influenced by esoteric philosophies. Her sister Mary Karadja was a well-known spiritualist and one of Stockholm’s most famous mediums. Lucie Lagerbielke wrote under different pseudonyms, including “Vitus”, with which she also signed her paintings. She claimed that her novel En sällsam upplefvelse (A Rare Experience) had been spiritually dictated to her by Edgar Allan Poe. She also claimed that her art was guided by higher powers. In addition to a religious mystic, Lucie Lagerbielke was an intellectual who actively promoted Christian spirituality while rejecting the Church and its interpretation of the Bible. On her death she left a large number of watercolours, drawings and oil paintings. She participated in only one art exhibition, posthumously, Nio Unga (The Nine Young Ones) at Liljevalchs, Stockholm in 1932. 

POLISH GINGERBREAD HOUSES AT MILLESGÅRDEN
A multi-sensorial exhibition in the Artist’s Home at Millesgården.

23 November – 12 January 2020

The exhibition Gingerbread Houses from Poland includes some 30 ingeniously decorated houses, castles and courtyards, replete with balconies, garlands and curtains and surrounded by
Christmas trees, Santa Claus and his elves, reindeers with sleighs and picket fences.

The gingerbread houses have been generously loaned by the Living Museum of Gingerbread in Toruń, Poland, which is on the National Geographic’s list of the Seven Wonders of Poland. Since the museum was inaugurated in 2006, visitors from throughout the world have become acquainted with the Spice Witch and the Master Gingerbread Baker and tried their hand at making gingerbread. Before you travel to Poland and experience the Living Museum of Gingerbread in Toruń, why not let yourself be inspired by a visit to the Artist’s Home during Christmastide where you can enjoy the enticing aroma of gingerbread and view the showbread!

The exhibition is a collaboration with The Polish Institute in Stockholm.

LENA ANDERSONS WORLD
19 JUN - 22 SEP 2019

In the exhibition Lena Anderson’s World, we have the opportunity to see everything from the first idea sketches to the detailed watercolours printed in the books. Of course, there is Linnea, as well as other favourites including Nicky/Anna, Stina, Hedgehog and Bunny. Come and listen to stories in Storm-Stina’s house, learn to tell the time with Uncle Knut, join Linnea on Monet’s bridge or call in on Anna in her tomato-filled greenhouse. We will also get to know the woman behind the books and see some of Lena Anderson’s watercolours and charcoal drawings previously unseen by the public.

Ever since the book that made her name, Linnea in Monet’s Garden, Anderson’s paintings and stories have captured the curiosity and instilled the love of reading of several generations. Themes running through her art are nature, flowers and the desire to share knowledge.
Lena Anderson has published 46 books and received Swedish and international awards and accolades.

The exhibition is suitable for all ages.

BACK TO PARADISE
MASTERPIECES OF EXPRESSIONISM
20 February - 9 June 2019

A comprehensive exhibition comprising 134 works, including paintings and prints by, among
others, Emil Nolde, Otto Mueller and Max Pechstein.

The exhibition Back to Paradise assembles major expressionist masterpieces from two
collections, the Häuptli Collection at the Aargauer Kunsthaus in Switzerland and the collection of the Osthaus Museum Hagen in Germany. Both include outstanding works from the various stages of expressionist artistic production in Germany in the period from 1905 until 1938. During the course of 19th-century industrialization, the size of European cities multiplied. Social mobility grew and technical development accelerated the pace of life. Tensions among disparate social classes, but also within them, resulted in various transnational reform movements. A young generation began to rebel against their fathers and pave their way towards freedom. Liberated from academic traditions, art at the dawn of World War I became the radical expression of this particular zeitgeist. The impact of these social upheavels led the artists to a search for new lifestyles. The faster the changes have been, the stronger was the yearning for a new paradise, which the artists often found in harmony with nature and in the study of foreign cultures. 

Impressionism predominantly addressed visual perception and thus was unable to permanently satisfy the seekers and restless minds. Painters like James Ensor, Paul Gauguin and Edvard Munch had already captured their subjective world experience on canvas. Although Art Nouveau had created forms without shadows and spaces without perspective, over time, the beautiful line seemed to have decayed as a trivial end in itself, but a new spark and emotionality was imminent. »Colors became charges of dynamite, they were expected to discharge light«, wrote André Derain about the Fauvists’ scandalous appearance at the Paris Salon d’Automne in 1905. With the foundation of the Dresden artist group Brücke (The Bridge) in early summer of 1905, Germany also  set the course for change. Subsequently this new and emotive painting style was aimed at not only provoking the bourgeois taste, but as a means to shake up the established concepts of beauty.

The circle around the Neuen Künstlervereinigung München (New Artist’s Association of Munich) and the editorial department of the Munich almanac Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) set
forth on a quest for a new introspection. Painting far outgrew the representational and new theoretical principles for the reconsideration of »primitive« art were established. 

Joint to the exhibition and on display is a correspondance by Carl Milles concerning the events in Germany and the art exhibited at the exhibition Entartete Kunst, in Munich 1937.

Artists: Cuno Amiet,  Max Beckmann, Walther Bötticher, Conrad Felixmüller, Lyonel Feininger, Erich Heckel, Alexej von Jawlensky, Wassily Kandinsky, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Max Liebermann, August Macke, Franz Marc, Ludwig Meidner, Gabriele Münter,  Otto Mueller, Emil Nolde, Max Pechstein, Christian Rohlfs, Karl Schmidt Rottluff.
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