Overview

Everything we feel deeply must be expressed.

Hans Hartung is a French artist known for his lyrical abstract style, working within paintings, sculptures and engravings. His work is characterised by singular marks: swirls and doodles constantly appear in his work, he scrapes the surface of his canvases to lay down colour and different supports.

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Biography

The first and most important thing is to remain free, free in each line you undertake, in your ideas and in your political action, in your moral conduct. The artist especially must remain free from all outer restraints.

Born in Leipzig, Germany in 1904 and died in 1989  in Antibes.

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.

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