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Hans Hartung

Tachism, Lyric Abstraction

(Leipzig, Germany, 1904 - Antibes, France, 1989)

Hans Hartung was born in Leipzig, Germany, in 1904. His parents had aimed to develop in him a musical sensibility, one that would accompany him all his life.

In the early 1920s, Hans Hartung lived in Dresden, Germany. This was the era of the Expressionist movement Die Brücke with Ernest Ludwig Kirchner, and Erich Heckel among others. He studied in his art school with Oskar Kokoschka, and while discovering the work of Rembrandt, Goya and Greco, he worked to reproduce and reinterpret them. He devoted himself to painting, his works were still figurative, and he was greatly inspired by Caspar David Friedrich as well as Turner.

He discovered watercolor in 1922, as well as the use of aniline colors, a chemical process that gives colors much more intensity than all the others used until then: "They had inspired me to do a series of watercolors. The task became liberating, it expressed by itself, by its form, by its intensity, by its rhythm, by its violence, by its volume ... "(Hans Hartung" Self-portrait "Editions Grasset Paris- 1976).

In 1928, he met Anna-Eva Bergman in Paris, a young artist of Norwegian origin; the couple got married in 1929.

The first exhibition of Hartung is organized in 1931. He left Germany in 1932, and travelled all around Europe. Pursued in Germany by the Gestapo, he first took refuge and then moved to Paris in 1935. He painted watercolors and abstract paintings during this time. 

In 1944, Hans Hartung enlisted in the French Foreign Legion ; injured, he will be amputated of the right leg. In 1945, he is naturalized a French. His art conveys his nightmares and his suffering in an abstract and lyrical painting style. It covers its supports hatches and swirls, large dark masses drawn in India ink, oil or pastel. The artist thought that only "tachism" could mean the despair of the horrors of war.

Hans Hartung received the grand prize of the Venice Biennale in 1960. It was during this period that he began to work in acrylic with large format works, struck with quick keys, scratched or scraped. He "stigmatized" his painting with brooms, combs and branches.

In 1986, Hartung began a series of colorful works in which he projected drips and drops on wrapping paper. His wife, Anna-Eva Bergman disappeared in 1987. Hans Hartung died in 1989 in Antibes (France). 
Hans Hartung, during his lifetime, received all the tributes and honors one culd wish for. Antibes has opened to the public the Hartung-Bergman Foundation, a museum and center of study on his work and that of his wife Anne-Eva Bergman.

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