German-French visionary, Hans Hartung, pioneered lyrical abstraction with his dynamic, gestural brushwork. If you’re looking for original Hans Hartung prints and editions for sale or would like to sell, request a complimentary valuation and browse our network’s most in-demand works.

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Born in Leipzig, Germany, in 1904, Hartung demonstrated an early passion for the arts. As a child, he was influenced by the works of Rembrandt and Van Gogh, and as he came of age, his style began to evolve towards abstraction, a trajectory that was not without its challenges in an era when such forms were subjected to suspicion and censorship. Hartung's education at the Academy of Fine Arts in Leipzig and later at the Academy of Arts in Dresden was marked by an insatiable quest for artistic innovation, culminating in his decision to move to Paris in 1932, where the avant-garde movements profoundly impacted his artistic direction.

Hartung's career is often delineated into several phases, each signifying a progression in his exploration of abstract expression. In the 1930s, he began experimenting with the technique of “scratching,” using various tools to etch into the wet paint, creating a sense of immediacy and kinetic energy. This period was marked by the creation of seminal works that would prefigure his later, more recognised style.

The traumatic experiences of World War II, during which Hartung served and was severely wounded, deeply influenced his post-war work. His art became an outlet for processing the chaos and suffering he had witnessed, leading to a more gestural and emotive approach. His use of erratic brushstrokes and a more monochromatic palette during the 1950s and 1960s underscored the intensity of his expression.

Significant exhibitions throughout Europe solidified his stature, including the Venice Biennale, where he was awarded the International Grand Prize for Painting in 1960. His achievements culminated in the opening of the Fondation Hartung-Bergman, a testament to his legacy and a sanctuary for the study of his and his wife, Anna-Eva Bergman's, artistic contributions.

Hans Hartung's impact on the art world extends beyond his canvases; his methods and philosophies have influenced generations of abstract artists. His work is a powerful reminder of the capacity for art to embody both personal and universal themes, and his legacy continues to inspire a dialogue on the nature of abstraction and the role of the artist in capturing the essence of human experience.

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