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Art Gift Recommendation - The Spiritual in Art: Abstract Painting

Updated on July 26, 2017
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Melissa lives in Downtown Albuquerque. She loves sharing her local discoveries with fellow travelers and explorers.

Abstract Painting
Abstract Painting

The Spiritual in Art

The Spiritual in Art: Abstract Painting 1890-1985
The Spiritual in Art: Abstract Painting 1890-1985

Grab this book when you see it. It's not always in print and can be difficult to obtain.


How I Came to Own This Book

Over 20 years ago I was given a very special art book as a gift. This book has provided me with hours of reading, investigation, and utter fascination at the meaning and possibilities of abstract art.

Its title is "The Spiritual in Art: Abstract Painting 1890-1985" and it was created in conjunction with an exhibition of the same name that began in November of 1986 and ended in 1987. The exhibition was created by LACMA, which is the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the largest museum of art in the western U.S., and was subsequently viewed in Chicago and The Hague during 1987.

If you know an artist, an art lover, or a collector of abstract art, you will want to find a copy of this book and give it to them as a gift.

Why should this book be in a personal art library?

It's an important reference that outlines the shift from the figurative narrative style of art (i.e. paintings and drawings of people and divine beings) that represented the spiritual, religious experience of the religions to the use of abstract works to document a deeply personal experience and understanding of the non-physical, the religious, and the spiritual.

What's inside the book?

The book is not just an art picture book, although there are many color and black & white plates in it. It is also chock full of essays and detailed information about the artists, their lives, the era's that they lived and worked in, and the social and political mood of the world over the time period between 1890 and 1985.

Also included are cosmic drawings from earlier time periods.

FYI: Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is the largest art museum in the western United States.

Photo Gallery

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Back cover of The Spiritual in ArtInside photo The Spiritual in ArtInside photo The Spiritual in Art
Back cover of The Spiritual in Art
Back cover of The Spiritual in Art
Inside photo The Spiritual in Art
Inside photo The Spiritual in Art
Inside photo The Spiritual in Art
Inside photo The Spiritual in Art

The artists showcased in the book The Spiritual in Art: Abstract Painting 1890-1985 are many and include:

Wassily Kandinsky

Marsden Hartley

Hilma af Klint

Georgia O'Keefe

Barnett Newman

Edvard Munch

Richard Pousette-Dart

Paul Klee

Piet Mondrian

You Need to Know About Hilma af Klint

Hilma af Klint: A Pioneer of Abstraction
Hilma af Klint: A Pioneer of Abstraction

Hilma af Klint is just one of the many spiritual mystic artists mentioned in the book. She was of Swedish descent and created some of the first truly abstract works of art.

I've chosen to highlight her work because it predates much of the work Kandinsky created. She was born on October 26, 1862 and died on October 21, 1944.

Kandinsky was born December 16, 1866 and died on December 13, 1944.

The similarity in their birth and death dates is remarkable.

She was a member of a group called "The Five" (an assembly of women who shared a belief in the importance of attempting to contact the 'high masters' - often using séances) and her drawings and paintings were considered the visual representation of complex ideas and the often looked like colorful diagrams.


Finding a Copy of this Book

This book was printed as a hardback and a softback. It appears that the hardback is not in print at the moment, and that's too bad because the hardback is a gem of a gift.

Although my hardback book did not come with a sleeve, there was an original hardback version that did. If you can find that one in a used bookshop buy right away!

While locating either the used hardback or softback version in a used book shop or as a used item at Amazon is easy to do, giving a gift may often dictate buying a brand new, fresh copy. This might be important to the receiver of the gift, you'll have to use your own judgement there.

When to Use this Book

Flipping through favorite or inspiring books is an easy way to get inspired yourself. I reach for this book often and not just when I need a little push to start painting or drawing again.

There something about looking at images that speaks to a deep inner place inside us. Viewing the images in this book is a gently reminder that there's more to life than meets the eye.

  • Use this book when life seems to be going contrary to the way you think it should.
  • Use this book on a rainy day with paper and pencil in hand to note inspiration.
  • Use this book to have a conversation with your subconscious.
  • Use this book to make you feel better.

Did you know about this book before reading about it here?

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    • Amanda6868 profile image

      Amanda M 

      3 years ago from Unknown

      Nice hub...Voted up.


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