SETAREH is pleased to present extraordinary works by Hans Hartung, the pioneer of gestural painting. Take the chance to learn more about his artistic techniques and context of some of Hans Hartungs' representative works.
'The simplest human impulses, the tendencies that lie deep within us [...] are at work here; they flourish, appear and belong to reality, all of them, and become visible at the surface of the artwork.' –Hans Hartung Interview with Charles Estienne about his work.
Hans Hartung created his first abstract drawings already in the 1920s. Amidst the avant-garde in France in the 1930s, he developed completely new forms of gestural painting. After the traumas of past wars, abstraction in a very fruitful manner became the language for a new beginning.
In the 1950s Hartung became one of the most important representatives of the Ècole de Paris and, parallel to the greats of American Abstract Expressionism, one of the most influential artists of abstract painting for following generations.
'I am convinced that the flashes of lightening of my childhood had an influence on my artistic development and my style of painting. They gave me a feel for the speed of the line, the desire to capture the moment with a pencil or a brush. It was through them I experienced the urgent need for spontaneity.'
Gestural painting and Golden Ratio, Tachism and composition, free development and calculated action; all these seemingly diametric terms match the artist's creative process. Characteristic of Hartung's work is especially his fast brushstroke and his almost graphic black lines in front of bright and metallic shining backgrounds.
Hartung's work took on a more sculptural quality in the 1960s as he began to scratch lines directly into colour. He continued his work until the late 1980s in an increasingly experimental approach.
The Leipzig-born artist had taken courses in the method and materials of artistic work under Kurt Wehler and Max Doerner, both classic masters in this field, in Dresden and Munich (1925–1929). His curiosity led him to Paris, where he permanently moved to with his wife Anna-Eva Bergman following a traumatic interrogation by the Gestapo in 1935. He joined the French Foreign Legion in 1939 and was a member of the troops in North Africa until 1944. That same year, he lost his right leg during the siege of Belfort. He took up painting again in 1945 after a six-year interruption. In the following year and on account of his bravery, he was awarded French citizenship and the Legion of Honour.
After moving to Antibes and despite his impaired mobility, Hartung continued painting well into old age, producing his characteristic large-format works, some up to five metres large—exquisitely aesthetic works, which appear so effortlessly painted yet radiate a distinct artistic intention and an irrepressible energy. Hans Hartung not only provided his era with an original artistic language, but he also established a new form of artistic perception. Every individual work by Hartung has an invariable intensity that is impossible to evade.
Press release courtesy SETAREH.