Hilma AF Clint’s family has criticized the NFT sale of the artist’s sacred paintings | Catch My Job


NFTs based on the Hilma af Klint series Paintings for temples came up for auction on November 14, as issuer Goda invited buyers to “secure your piece of history”. But the transaction came under scrutiny as the artist’s family denied the moral legitimacy of the sale.

Swedish artist Hilma af Klint (1862-1944) was a “remarkable woman” and “amazing visionary” (to quote NFT drop promoters Pharrell Williams and Kaus). First and foremost, he was a mystic and a medium who left a body of mainly abstract work inspired by his close engagement with spiritual philosophies, including theosophy and anthropology.

AF Clint had a message for humanity and, according to Daniel Birnbaum – a long-time champion of his work, whose company Acute Art created a virtual reality temple “home”. Paintings for Temples-The digital sphere provides a perfect medium to deliver his vision. By selling NFTs, “the temple will be owned by people all over the world,” said Birnbaum, who is also a board member of the Hilma AF Klint Foundation.

However, with NFTs the ownership transferred can be zero. The tokens are not sold by the Hilma AF Klint Foundation, founded in 1972 to preserve and manage the artist’s legacy, but by the acute art and publishing company Bockforlaget Stolpe. Stolpe is the director of the Axel and Margaret Ax:son Johnson Foundation for Public Benefit, one of Sweden’s largest private foundations, which supports scholarly research.

Three people from the Ax:son Johnson Foundation, including chief executive Kurt Almqvist, sit on the board of the Hilma AF Klint Foundation, effectively running it, Johan af Klint said. Johann Hilma was the former chairman of the AF Klint Foundation and devoted a large part of his life to bringing his great-aunt’s work to critical acclaim. It is through this complex web of board relationships, which inevitably creates all sorts of conflicts of interest, that vendors gain access to digital images of the work.

Johann of Klint and his niece Hedwig Ersmann felt a duty to preserve the artistic and spiritual legacy of their ancestors and strongly objected to the sale. Furthermore, NFTs can cause a copyright infringement: digital works are sold by third parties who do not own the original. As a case in point, Goda founder Todd Kramer Tweeted An installation view of Hilma AF Clint NFT presented in her gallery: In other words, JPEG, widely available online, uploaded here on separate screens.

Despite the copyright expiring in 2014, perpetual protection of the work’s moral rights can still be enforced: as successors have noted, Hilma af Klint did not want her creations to be commercialized. While the artist sold his landscape paintings, he kept his abstract work secret and only shared it in ethnographic circles, including his spiritual mentor Rudolf Steiner. Also, for AF Clint Paintings for temples The series will be kept and displayed together as a meta-project: a project to connect with the divine. Sellers did not respond to an invitation to comment on the Af Klint family’s claim that the NFTs are illegal.


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