For a long time, few people knew about spiritualism’s impact on the birth of abstract art. But when the Swedish art historian Sixten Ringbom’s book The Sounding Cosmos was published in 1970, the writing of history changed forever. Through his research on Wassily Kandinsky, one of the pivotal figures in modern art, Ringbom could show, among other things, how theosophy and esoteric teachings were absolutely essential to the development of non-figurative painting.
This discovery generated great debate, and the book was both celebrated and controversial. To this day, it is an art history classic that continues to be discussed, especially since people’s views of both art and religion are continuously changing. In recent years, the attention given to Hilma af Klint has increased interest in the significance of the spiritual and in turn has focused new light on Kandinsky and others in the first generation of abstract painters. The Sounding Cosmos is now being published for the first time in a new edition. The richly illustrated original text has been supplemented with a new foreword by Daniel Birnbaum and Julia Voss.