“My childish flashes have had, I am sure, an influence on my artistic development, on my way of painting. They have given me a feeling for the speed of the line, the desire to seize the instantaneous with the pencil or the paintbrush, they have made me aware of the urgency of spontaneity.” Hans Hartung
“Painter of flashes”, Hans Hartung became committed to abstraction as early as 1922.
With him, the expressivity of the mark and free gestures characterised his work, a volatile oeuvre that took form between black graphics and coloured planes.
It is in Paris in 1935 that he met other abstract artists, Alexander Calder, Jean Hélion, Julio Gonzalez; encounters that reinforced his investigations that until then had been pursued in isolation.
After the war and with the advent of abstraction on the world artistic scene, Hans Hartung became close to Gérard Schneider and Pierre Soulages, a trio formed by the greatest pioneers of Lyrical Abstraction.
Always anxious to carry out other experiments he was urged to use new tools in the 1960s, such as a spray gun, broad brush and roller, as well as new media: vinyl, acrylics which dry more quickly allowing him to work with speed and immediacy.
“What I like is action on the canvas. Action? This is scratching, tearing, staining, invading the canvas with colour, in short everything that is not “painting.”” Hans Hartung
1960 was the peak of his fame: Hans Hartung received the International Prize for Painting at the Venice Biennale. He was elected to the Académie des Beaux-Arts of Paris in 1977.
“Hartung’s canvases are thus analyzed much less in relation to content than in terms of dynamism and radiance. What is most remarkable about them is the tension reconciled with an extreme degree of refinement.” Conil Lacoste
The Fondation Hans Hartung et Anna-Eva Bergmann –his wife, a painter– was established in 1994, based at Antibes.
Major public collections:
Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum
Berlin, Neue Nationalgalerie
Chicago, Chicago Art Institute
Cleveland, Cleveland Museum of Art
Londres, Tate Gallery
Madrid, Museo nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
Munich, Pinakothek der Modern
New York, Museum of Modern Art (MoMa)
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met)
Paris, Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris
Paris, Musée national d’Art moderne, Centre Georges-Pompidou
Philadelphie, Philadelphia Museum of Art
San Francisco, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
Washington D.C., Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Major private collection:
Genève, Fondation Gandur pour l’Art
Rétrospective, exposition itinérante : Palais des Beaux Arts, Bruxelles / Kunsthaus, Zurich / Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts, Vienne / Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 1963-64
Rétrospective, exposition itinérante : Musée national d’Art moderne, Paris / Museum of Fine Arts, Houston / Musée du Québec, Québec / Musée d’Art contemporain, Montréal, 1968-1969
Hans Hartung, Retrospektive 1921-1974, Gemalde, Tuschen, exposition itinérante : Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne / Nationalgalerie, Berlin / Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, 1974-1975
Hans Hartung, Paintings 1971-1975, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1975
Rétrospective, exposition itinérante : Städtische Kunsthalle, Düsseldorf / Staatsgalerie Moderner Kunst, Munich, 1982
Hans Hartung, Taiwan Art Museum, Taipei, 1997
Hartung en Chine, exposition itinérante : Palace of Fine Arts, Pékin / National Museum, Nankin, 2005
L’Envolée lyrique, Paris 1945-1956, Musée du Luxembourg, Paris, 2006
Les Sujets de l’abstraction, Peinture non-figurative de la Seconde École de Paris (1946-1962), Fondation Gandur pour l’Art, Musée Rath, Genève, 2011