Hans Hartung (21 September 1904 – 7 December 1989) was a German-French painter, known for his gestural abstract style. He was also a decorated World War II veteran of the French Foreign Legion.
In 1947 in Paris he had his first solo exhibition. By the late 1950s he had achieved recognition for his gestural paintings, which were nearly monochromatic and characterized by configurations of long rhythmical brushstrokes or scratches. In 1960 he was awarded the International Grand Prix for painting at the Venice Biennale.
Hartung's freewheeling abstract paintings set influential precedents for many younger American painters of the sixties, making him an important forerunner of American Lyrical Abstraction of the 1960s and 1970s. He was featured in the 1963 film documentary "School of Paris: (5 Artists at Work)" by American filmmaker Warren Forma.
Signature: Signed, titled and inscribed by hand
About Hans Hartung
Hans Hartung is associated with post-war Art Informel artists such as Karel Appel, Jean-Paul Riopelle, and Jean Dubuffet. After being a prisoner of war and losing a leg as a soldier with the Foreign Legion (between 1939 and 1945), Hartung returned to Paris, where he became particularly interested in spontaneity, irrationality, and freedom of form. Rather than trying to control the process as earlier abstract painters had, Hartung applied paint with garden rakes, spray paint, and olive branches, embracing accidental and unexpected outcomes. "In my opinion the painting which is called abstract is none of the 'Isms' of which there have been so many lately," he said. "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." Notable influences include Emil Nolde, Oskar Kokoschka, and other German expressionists.
French-German, 1904-1989, Leipzig, Germany, based in France