Seven Things I Love (6-6-2022)

1. This Overlooked Female Artist – Hilma af Klint. Have you heard of her? I’d never heard of her. But last week I was visiting with friends and we watched a fantastic documentary called Beyond the Visible: Hilma af Klint (you absolutely need to watch it) and whoa.

There’ve been many visionary women who have been overlooked in history simply because they were female. It seems this may be particularly true in the world of art.

And in fact, some of the “firsts” that have been attributed to white males were not actually done first by these men.

One person whose story fits into this category is Hilma af Klint.

Miss af Klint was born in Sweden in 1862. She exhibited artistic talent from an early age and even studied art at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. Though she chose not to live the “traditional” life that was expected of her – to get married and have children – she did take a more traditional route with her professional art career while she was alive.

But privately she was painting magnificent abstract art, some pieces being enormous and in large series.

Another mark against af Klint was that she was a spiritualist, which led to her being called a “crazy witch”. It gave people, particularly men, an excuse to dismiss her work as being frivolous.

In 1908 af Klint met Rudolf Steiner, who was a noted occultist and clairvoyant. She asked him to visit her studio so she could share some of her private work. It did not go well. He told her he was unimpressed with the work and that it wasn’t appropriate for a theosophist. Fortunately for the world this didn’t stop af Klint from continuing her painting but it is mostly responsible for why no one saw any of her works until decades after her death.

(Side note: Wassily Kandinsky has been dubbed the “Father of Abstract Art.” Kandinsky claims to have created the first abstract painting in 1911. As noted above, af Klint was showing her abstract pieces to Steiner in 1908. Also, Kandinsky was a follower of Rudolf Steiner. Coincidence? Of course not.)

As a result of Steiner’s dismissal of her art, af Klint continued to hide her abstract paintings. When she passed away in 1944 she left all her art to her nephew – all 1200 pieces of them! She requested he keep them for at least twenty years before doing anything with them. Her nephew barely was able to store them and frankly, it’s a miracle they survived.

After that he tried donating them to the Moderna Museet but they declined (I bet they could kick themselves now.) Finally a foundation int he artist’s name was created an accepted the paintings in the 1970s. It took nearly four more decades before the world finally appreciated Hilma af Klint’s work and even today the art world has not given her the status she deserves.

One last thing – this artist paints pictures of people looking at other people’s art.

I love this….

2. This John Oliver Piece on School Safety Officers – There are many reasons why we need to get police out of schools. We have the data. Use your vote wisely in November.

3. This Cheeky Actor – Ian McKellen, age 83.

4. This Video of the Queen Having Tea with Paddington Bear – There is so much to love about this video. I know that people have opinions about the monarchy and historically, the rulers of England have done some horrifying things, but Lilibet has always tried to do the right thing for her people. She may have been more willing to remain within the formal confines of tradition than Diana, but in a lot of ways they were more alike than people are willing to recognize.

[Thanks for the link Meta!]

5. This Glass Artist – I mentioned I was visiting with friends last week. One of them, the place where we were all staying, my one friend Dawn has an art studio and makes beautiful things there.

Don’t worry, I didn’t buy all of them, but I did buy the necklace showing below.

In fact I bought most of these pieces, which is why I chose them to show you.

You can visit her shop here.

6. These Cookies – I think we can all agree that pretty much everything at Trader Joe’s is wonderful but some items are simply supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. These madeleines fall into that category.

7. These Pastry and Confectionery – Jules Gouffé, a renowned chef during the middle of the 19th century, was nicknamed l’apôtre de la cuisine décorative (or, The apostle of decorative cuisine.) Chef Gouffé had a huge influence on French gastronomy and published four books that were even translated into English by his brother Alphonse, who was the head pastry chef to Queen Victoria.

Clearly this man did not believe that less is more.

Nougat Vase Filled with Strawberries on Nougat Stand
Moorish Stand
Italian Villa Made of Nougat
Gingerbread Rustic Summer House
Fountain Stand

[Found on Gjenvick-Gjønvik Archives]

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