26.8.11

Hans Hartung


Born in Leipzig, into an artistic family. He studied the work of painters such as Corinth and Nolde, and also learned the basis of French modern art. He studied in the Fine Arts Academies of Dresden and Munich. To prevent succumbing to provincialism, he left in 1927 his native country, and after a bicycle trip through Europe, he moved to Paris.
He lived with Anna-Eva Bergmann and established himself in the French town of Leucate and then in the Balearic Island of Minorca. His first exhibition was held in 1931 in Dresden and his last bonds with Germany were broken as he was rejected from Nazi Germany on account of being a "degenerate" whose work was influenced by that of Wassily Kandinsky. In 1935 when Hartung attempted to sell paintings while visiting Berlin, the police tried to arrest him. He was able to flee the country with the help of his friend Christian Zervos.
After returning to Paris in 1935 as a refugee his wife left him, causing him to become depressive. His friends tried to help him with his financial difficulties, but his paintings were becoming more abstract and did not sell well.
In December 1939, he became a member of the French Foreign Legion. He was closely followed by the Gestapo and arrested for seven months by the French police. After they learned he was a painter, he was put in a red cell in order to wear off his vision. After being released, Hartung rejoined the Legion to fight in North Africa. He earned French citizenship in 1945 and was also awarded the Croix de Guerre.
His work during this period is characterised by suspended areas of colour superimposed by calligraphic bunches of lines. Involving swirling and energetic linear motifs, Hartung’s mature style found an eager public after the war. A successful showing of his work in Paris (1947) was followed by exhibits elsewhere in Europe and in the United States, Japan, and Latin America. In 1960 he was awarded the Grand Prix of the Venice Biennale and an entire room of the French Pavilion was devoted to his work. Hartung had a decisive influence on the postwar generation of abstract painters in Europe. His later works became progressively calmer and more stable. Many of his works are titled by letters and numbers.



1951

1956

Hartung: "In my opinion the painting which is called abstract is none of the "isms" of which there have been so many lately, it is neither a "style" nor an "epoch" in art history, but merely a new means of expression, a different human language - one which is more direct than that of earlier painting" (Art Directory).


Hartung: "Before the blank canvas I feel the need to make a certain spot, a certain color, or a mark. The first marks lead to others. Colors lead to signs which in turn suggest marks whose roles might be to support or to contradict what already exists as much as to stabilize the painting. In any case, I act at first with complete liberty. It is the work, as it goes along, that limits my choices."


L158, 1968


Pintor alemán nacionalizado francés, conocido por sus obras abstractas de trazos caligráficos negros sobre fondo de colores. Nació en Leipzig en el seno de una familia de físicos. Su abuelo era también pintor autodidacta y compositor. Entre 1915 y 1926 estudió lenguas clásicas en el Dresden Gymnasium y filosofía e historia del arte en la universidad y en la Escuela de Bellas Artes de Leipzig. Más adelante ingresó en la Academia de Bellas Artes de Dresde. Durante el verano de 1926 viajó en bicicleta por Francia, Italia y España. En 1931 expuso por primera vez en Dresde. En 1937, en una exposición colectiva en el Jeu de Paume, París, conoció al gran escultor español Julio González, que habría de ejercer una profunda influencia en él. González le brindó todo tipo de ayuda y le animó a emprender su propio camino artístico. Durante el periodo prebélico Hartung se instaló en París para evitar el régimen nazi, y expuso en varias galerías. En 1938 participó en una exposición anti-nazi en la Galería New Burlington de Londres. En 1939, fue encarcelado en España y posteriormente se alistó en la Legión extranjera en el norte de África. En 1944 fue gravemente herido durante el sitio de Belfort y perdió una pierna. Después de la guerra se nacionalizó francés y en 1947 hizo una exposición individual importante en París. Desde el principio se mantuvo alejado del movimiento de la Bauhaus, al que consideraba como una mera moda pasajera. Sus pinturas, puramente abstractas, reflejan su opinión sobre la representación de la realidad: la expresión libre y pura debe trascender la realidad. La pincelada rápida constituyó una característica básica de su método de trabajo. La velocidad en el proceso creativo era, según sus propias palabras, "una necesidad espiritual". Recibió varios premios, entre los que se incluyen el Premio Guggenheim en 1956 y en 1960 el Gran Premio Internacional de la Bienal de Venecia (M.E.).

Pintores de Alemania
Creadores suizos y alemanes modernos

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