Hans Hartung was famous as a post-war Parisian abstractionist and an exponent of Art Informel and Tachisme. He was known in the mid-1950s for his spontaneous gestural paintings of rhythmical dark lines, and, later in his life—after going through several changes—delicately sprayed misty dots. Restless with their fevered energy and intricacy the success of this type of art represented a new public confidence in European non-objectivity.
In his 20s, Hartung went to the University of Leipzig to train as a philosopher and art historian. In 1926 he was excited by seeing an innovative show in Dresden presenting Cubism and several other avant-garde movements. In 1928 he decided to go to Munich to study under Max Doerner, the art theorist. He then married a Norwegian artist (Anna-Eva Bergman) and later settled in the Spanish island of Minorca. He tried to return to Germany in 1935, but the rise of Nazism forced him (as a 'degenerate artist') into exile. He and his wife went to Paris and subsequently divorced. He became known for his non-representational abstraction and became a regular presenter in the Salon des Surindépendants. In 1937 he was included in a major group show at the Jeu de Paume, Paris, curated by the critic Christian Zervos. He was given the use of the sculptor Julio González's studio, and in 1939 he married Roberta, González's daughter.
During the war he served in the Foreign Legion and lost a leg in battle, winning a Croix de Guerre. With peace, he resumed painting and became a French citizen. His work, over the next ten years, became vigorously calligraphic, often characterised by the application of swathes of colour over which were energetically brushed clusters of black lines. Influences included Wassily Kandinsky, Emil Nolde and Lovis Corinth, and he became a pioneer European lyrical abstractionist. Hartung's formations of grass-like lines or scratches became a trademark.
Outside of his exhibiting accolades, Hartung won several prizes such as the 1956 award for the Europe-Africa section of the Guggenheim International Award, and the Grand International Prize for Painting at the 1960 Venice Biennale.
He had his first single-person shows at Galerie Lydia Conti (1947), Galerie Craven (1956) and Galerie de France (1956). International acclaim arrived with Younger European Painters: A Selection at New York's Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1953–4), a retrospective at the Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris (1969), and solo shows at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (1975) and the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1980). He had a stroke in 1986 but continued working from a wheelchair. He died three years later.
German-French abstract painter Hans Hartung is getting his first major New York exhibition since 1975, when the artist was given a retrospective at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was panned by critics, notably The New York Times' Hilton Kramer who asked: 'Why Hartung?'A selection of the late artist's work is currently on display in...
Galerie Perrotin will now represent the estate of Hans Hartung, the French artist associated with the Art Informel and Tachisme movements. The gallery, which has spaces in Hong Kong, New York, Paris, Seoul, and Tokyo, will showcase the painter's work at an Art Basel booth in June, staged in collaboration with London's Simon Lee Gallery.
Talk between Matthieu Poirier, curator of the exhibition, and Barbara MacAdam, ArtNews editor-at-large, on the occasion of A Constant Storm. Works from 1923 to 1989 at Perrotin New York.January 12–February 18, 2018Hans Hartung Talk–Matthieu Poirier & Barbara MacAdam
Hans HARTUNGA constant storm. Works from 1922 to 1989January 12–February 18, 2018PERROTIN New YorkFilm by Nikolaï Saoulski © 2017
HANS HARTUNGCurated by Matthieu PoirierPerrotin New York - January 2018Film by Nikolaï Saoulski © 2017