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London
  • P.1974-A.

    1974

    Acrylic on baryta  cardboard

    74.4 x 104.5 cm

Hans Hartung was born in Leipzig, Germany, in 1904. Since his early works he departed radically from an objective interpretation of reality. He graduated in philosophy and art history at Leipzig University in 1924, and later he attended the Fine Arts Schools in Leipzig and Dresden until 1926. He then moved to Munich where he continued his art studies until 1930. He exhibited in 1931 at the Galerie Heinrich Kühl, Dresden. In 1932, stricken with illness and depression after the death of his father, he settled in the island of Minorca. In 1935, after a trip to Sweden, he returned to Germany; but the Nazi régime made life difficult for him. With the help of Will Grohmann and Christian Zervos he was able to leave Germany and settle in Paris, where he met Kandinsky, Mondrian, Hélion, Goetz, Domela and Magnelli. He took part in the Salon des Surindépendants from 1935 to 1938, in the exhibition De Cézanne à nos jours (1937) organized by Zervos at the Jeu de Paume, and in the exhibition of Twentieth Century German Art in London (1938). An exhibition of his drawings and pastels was organized at the Galerie Henriette, Paris, in 1939. After serving the French Foreign Legion for two years in North Africa, he was discharged in 1941. He returned to France and lived in the unoccupied zone until 1943. When the Germans moved in, he escaped to Spain, where he spent seven months in prison. Finally released, he made his way to North Africa and he joined General de Gaulle’s army. He took part in the invasion of France in 1944 and he was badly wounded at the siege of Belfort; his left leg had to be amputated. In 1945, as a recognition of his war record, he received French nationality. He returned to Paris and he began to paint again. In 1946, he took part in the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles and the Salon de Mai, where he exhibited yearly thereafter. He held a solo show in 1947 at the Galerie Lydia Conti, Paris; he exhibited some pastels at the Galerie Carré with Lanskoy and Schneider in 1949, and then he exhibited there regularly thereafter. He exhibited in the Kunsthalle, Basel, in 1952. In the years after, he participated in the exhibition of Advancing French Art, organised by Louis Carré in New York, San Francisco and Chicago; the Venice Biennale (1952). In the late ’50s he held solo shows in Paris, Rome and Munich. He was awarded the Rubens Prize by the city of Siegen in 1958 and the International Prize at the 1960 Venice Biennale. He died in Antibes in 1989.