Hilma af Klint: Some Budget-Friendly Alternatives

Investing Guide

The art of Swedish sensation Hilma af Klint is mostly out of reach for all but the wealthiest collectors. However, we can explore two artists that produce work similar to af Klint’s style or thematic concerns, but which are still affordable for many collectors. Before we jump into these artists, Ill give a quick overview of af Klint’s practice and popularity, so that we have a foundation on which to view the two other artists.

General view at the Spring Exhibition Photocall; Hilma Af Klint Exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery on March 2, 2016 in London, England. 

David M. Benett / Getty Images for Serpentine Galleries)]
Hilma Af Klint at the Serpentine Gallery, 2016

Af Klint was a Swedish artist who is now recognized as a pioneer of abstract art, predating other well-known abstract artists like Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, and Kazimir Malevich. Born in 1862, she began her artistic career in the late 19th century and was initially trained in a traditional academic style of painting. However, she eventually began to develop her own style, which was inspired by spiritualism, theosophy, and other esoteric beliefs.

She was deeply interested in the idea of creating art that could express spiritual and mystical experiences, and she began to experiment with abstraction as a way of representing non-material realms.

exhibition view. Photograph by Stanislav Stepaško. Hilma Af Klint
Hilma af Klint, A Pioneer of Abstraction exhibition, Installation view at KUMU Art Museum, 2015

Over the course of her life, af Klint produced a large body of work, including more than 1,000 paintings, many of which were never exhibited during her lifetime. In fact, she stipulated in her will that her abstract paintings should not be shown publicly until at least 20 years after her death, as she believed that the world was not yet ready to understand their significance. Af Klint’s popularity has exploded in recent years, particularly since 2013, when an exhibition of her work was held at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden. This exhibition was a major turning point in the recognition of af Klint’s art, as it was the first time that her abstract works were exhibited on a large scale.

Following this exhibition, her work gained increasing attention and critical acclaim, leading to further exhibitions at major institutions such as the Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Serpentine Gallery in London.

The Lookalikes:

Loie Hollowell

Loie Hollowell is a young(ish) American contemporary artist known for her abstract paintings and sculptures that explores themes of fertility, sexuality, and the human body. This makes Hollowell’s work more interested in the physical realm, while af Klint’s is more otherworldly. Although, because Loie Hollowell’s is abstracted still, some of her work is evocative of af Klint’s at a quick glance.

Courtesy the Long Museum

Hilma Af Klint
Loie Hollowell, Recalibrate exhibition, Installation view at The Long Museum West Bund, 2021.

Overall, Hollowell’s painting is ‘smoother’ looking than af Klint’s and it is still incredible easy to tell one artists work from the others, but there are parallels at times when they evoke an ethereal quality or employ circular or bulbous elements. When Hollowell’s work doesn’t resemble af Klint to closely, they can resemble Judy Chicago, so Hollowell could be a collector’s silver-medal choice for Chicago too (although Chicago editions are still within the reach of beginner collectors).

Hilma Af Klint
Loie Hollowell, Point of Entry (lingam between teal circles), 2017 & Boob Wheel, 2019

Hollowell is represented by Pace Gallery, meaning she is a Blue-Chip artist, which does make her work expensive, but she does have some cheap(ish) limited edition prints available that I would recommend a beginner collector look into.

Leah Guadagnoli

Leah Guadagnoli is another young New York based artist. Like Hollowell, Guadagnoli’s work can look similar to af Klint because she sometimes uses specific geometric patterns composed into something that looks like an alter or reminiscent of imagery generally associated with ‘spiritually’.

Photography by Etienne Frossard. https://www.asyageisberggallery.com/exhibitions/leah-guadagnoli/installation-views?view=slider

Hilma Af Klint
Leah Guadagnoli, Soft Violence exhibition, Installation view at Asya Geisberg Gallery, 2019

The scale and portrait orientation of the work helps with this association I think, as well as occasional use of symbolic female anatomy. It’s funny, but I wouldn’t necessarily make a direct connection between the respective work of af Klint and Chicago. But I can easily make connections between both Hollowell and Guadagnoli and af Klint and Chicago. I guess there is a big enough cross over between typical spiritual imagery and symbolic female anatomy for contemporary artist

What makes Guadagnoli work much different from af Klint and Hollowell is her use materials, such pumice stone, insulation board, upholstery foam, and aluminum panel, which makes her works sculptural objects as well as something to be viewed as a 2D picture plane. This is interesting today, but I do wonder how this kind of material will hold up over time, and as a consequence, how it will hold up as an investment.

Hilma Af Klint
Leah Guadagnoli, Got to Grown Down to Grow Up, 2021 & Full Moon Rising, 2020

Additionally, Guadagnoli doesn’t have the same kind of art world profile just yet as Hollowell, so she is a little less ‘investable’. But because of these risks, her work can be acquired rather cheaply, with originals for US$1,200 to US$15,000.

Check out Masterworks, Public, and Yieldstreet and explore Art Funds that let you purchase shares in million-dollar paintings from blue chip artists like Banksy, Kaws, and Yayoi Kusama.

Read more: Review: Masterworks vs. Yieldstreet
Read more: Review: Masterworks vs Public

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