The Unexplained: Art from the Spirit World
February 24, 2023
Sara Marie Hogg
Georgiana Houghton emphasized that making the abstract artwork was her way to “make contact with God.”
I once wrote about the amazing artwork of Hilma af Klint, a Swedish artist who created abstractions years before other artists. After twenty years of making other forms of art, she began her series of abstractions in 1906. She was so far ahead of her time.
There was a British woman, Georgiana Houghton, 1814-1884, who perhaps was more of a visionary than any of the pioneers of abstract art, including Kandinsky, Malevich, and Mondrian. She produced a totally abstract style at least forty years before any of these masters.
This is extraordinary, but how Georgiana accomplished this is what is even more astonishingly mysterious. Most of the artworks were created during seances by automatic process. Georgiana revealed that spirits in attendance directed her artistry. Her hand was guided by spirits, including those of Renaissance artists and “higher angelic beings.” Titian and Correggio were often included.
Houghton was born in 1814 in Spain–Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands. Later the family moved to London. Her earlier pre-seance artwork included stylized fruit and flowers. She was a trained artist and a spiritual medium. As she delved more and more onto spiritualism and seances, her work became more and more abstract.
She emphasized that her artwork represented spiritual experiences. Making the artwork was a way to “make contact with God.”
She produced her first abstracts starting in 1859 at private seances. She had exhibitions, including one at the New British Gallery, Bond Street, London, 1871.
Her works are complex, resembling fabulous masses of swirling and tangled lines, mostly in layered watercolor.
Her exhibited work received high acclaim at the time, but later it became lost and overshadowed by later-blooming male abstract expressionists. This is what happened much of the time to female artists.
Many of the men admitted having spiritual influences in their artistic expressions, but did not use seances to create their work.
Less than fifty of Georgiana’s works are known to remain. They are truly remarkable visual experiences.
Please click HERE to find Sara’s collection of true stories about the strange and unexplained.