Julia Voss

Julia Voss

Art Historian

Leuphana Universität Lüneburg

In Residence

September 2018 – December 2018

Research Project

Life and Work of Hilma af Klint

When the Swedish artist Hilma af Klint (born 1862) died in 1944, she left more than 1000 works and 26 000 pages of text. Long before Kandinsky, Kupka, Malevich or Mondrian claimed the invention of abstraction, she had painted non figurative works in her Stockholm atelier, at first in modest size, soon after in enormous format. The paintings have puzzled many viewers and the grand museum retrospectives in recent years have triggered myriads of questions: Why did Hilma af Klint paint these pictures? What was her background? In which context did she work? The literature dealing with her life and work is still comparatively small. In particular her biography has been little studied, the network she worked in is still almost unknown. Due to new archive findings it has turned out that the artist traveled widely and was in touch with many other contemporary artists. She studied the art of the Italian Renaissance as well those of the Dutch Old Masters. There she found inspiration for themes that lay at the core of her art production. Also for Hilma af Klint the path of enlightenment had to be pursued from the visible to the invisible, per visibilia ad invisibilia, as Augustinus had put it.

Research Interests

  • History and theory of abstraction
  • History and theory of art critisism
  • Scientific images (Evolution)
  • Robbery an restitution of art
  • History of art market


Darwins Bilder. Ansichten der Evolutionstheorie, 1837-1874 (S. Fischer Verlag, 2007, englisch Yale University Press, 2010)

Darwins Jim Knopf (S. Fischer Verlag, 2009)

1938 Kunst, Künstler, Politik (Ausstellungskatalog Jüdisches Museum, Wallstein Verlag 2013)

Hinter weißen Wänden. Mit Philipp Deines (Merve Verlag 2015)

The Traveling Hilma af Klint (Ausstellungskatalog, Guggenheim Museum, New York 2018, forthcoming in October)


Julia Voss

Center for Advanced Studies BildEvidenz

Arnimallee 10
14195 Berlin