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Sunday, February 25, 2024


Artist Georgiana Houghton, Glory Be to God, 1864  

GUEST BLOG / By Jennifer Higgie--
When Georgiana Houghton first exhibited her paintings at a London gallery in 1871, their wild eddies of color and line were unlike anything the public had seen before — nor would see again until the rise of abstract art decades later. But there was little intentionally abstract about these images: Houghton painted entities she met in the spirit regions. Viewing her works through the prism of friendship, loss, and faith, I have focused overdue attention on an artist neglected by historians, a visionary who believed that death was not the end, merely a new distance to overcome. 

 CLICK HERE for the remainder of Ms. Higgie’s essay “The Substantiality of Spirit,” which appeared in the Public Domain Review earlier this month. 

Ahead of her time

EXHIBITIONS. In 1871, Houghton organized and privately subsidized a public exhibition “Spirit Drawings in Water Colors” of 155 of her watercolors at the New British Library in London. 

In April 2015, Monash University organized the exhibition “Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits” in which 25 of Houghton's watercolors were displayed. 

In June 2016, the Courtauld Institute of Art created a somewhat more comprehensive exhibition dedicated to the artist: “Georgiana Hougton: Spirit Drawings”.

In November 2018, 17 paintings were displayed as part of "World Receivers" exhibition along with Hilma af Klint and Emma Kunz, then six were exhibited at Wilhelm Hack Museum's "Floral Fantasies" exhibition in March 2019. 

 In 2021, as part of Centre Pompidou's "Women In Abstraction" exhibition, then this exhibition was presented at the Guggenheim Bilbao in late 2021/early 2022, both these exhibitions were in a virtual platform due to the pandemic.

In 2022, her work was included in the thematic exhibit Corps orbite for the 59th Venice Biennale. 

The Victorian Spiritualists' Union, in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia have 35 of Houghton's original paintings permanently on display, and regularly loan the collections for exhibiting around the world. 

In 2020, the VSU published a book on Houghton's works.

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