PUBLIC NOTES: Hartung’s abstract painting style was highly influential for American painters of the 1960s, themselves coping with anxiety and dread associated with war. He was widely considered a forerunner of American Lyrical Abstraction that developed in the 1960s and 1970s. In this late piece, Hartung’s rhythmical brushstrokes and scratched canvas generate a textural depth reminiscent of his earlier monochromatic works.
Signature: Signed with the artist’s initials and dated ‘H.H 85’ (lower left), titled and dated ‘T 1985-H13’ (on the stretcher), signed and dated ‘Hartung 1985’ (on the reverse). This work is registered in the Hans Hartung archives under the reference No. HH 145.
This work will be reproduced in the Catalogue raisonné being prepared by the Foundation Hans Hartung and Anna-Eva Bergman.
Galerie Bodenschatz, Basel
Galerie Daniel Gervis, Paris
Sale: Christie’s London, 22 October 2003, lot 31
Galerie Von Vertes, Switzerland
Private collection, France
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