Introduction to Illuminating Parallels in the Life and Art of Hilma af Klint and C.G. Jung

Ami Ronnberg

We are very happy to present this fascinating article about the Swedish artist Hilma af Klint and C.G. Jung as our first selection from the fourth Art and Psyche Conference at Santa Barbara this year. It tells the story of two visionaries who lived at the same time but never met. They both expressed their spiritual journey (which Jung called individuation) through art. We discover remarkable similarities in their art and we also learn about the many shared influences that inspired them.

Hilma af Klint asked that her work not be shown until 20 years after her death, believing that the time was not yet ready. It took more than 60 years before she was widely recognized. When shown at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, there were more visitors than at any other exhibition. Roberta Smith, the long-time art critic at the New York Times wrote in her review that Hilma af Klint had changed the history of modern art.

In a similar expression of delayed recognition, the Jungian analyst James Hollis begins his book On This Journey We Call Our Life by saying that he is among those who believe that C.G. Jung has not yet been discovered or at least sufficiently appreciated even several decades after his death in 1961. At the same time, for Jung, who said that he was not an artist, it is a delightful irony that he has recently become known to a new and broader audience through his art.