A French painter of German origin, Hartung committed himself to abstraction as early as 1922.
« It is as a self taught artist that he tackled painting but an imperious need for knowledge led him to attend classes at the Fine Arts Academies of Dresden (1925-1926) and Munich (1928), thus abandoning the teaching of the Bauhaus, too rigid in his view ».
« Numerous journeys allowed him to discover European painting, of which he especially appreciated Impressionism, Fauvism and Cubism ».
« When he settled in Paris in 1935, he met other artists who, like him were defenders of abstract art (Hélion, Calder, Gonzalez), which reinforced his thinking, until then done in isolation. Moreover, complete detachment from the subject being represented gave his works an identity that placed them in out of step compared to the aesthetic considerations of these artists ».
« His wish to fight Nazism led him to volunteer for the Foreign Legion ».
« After the Second World War, when abstraction became the challenge in an aesthetic reconsideration, Hartung met international fame;” he is recognized as one of the masters of Abstract Expressionism ».
« A constant care for experimentation characterises his artistic practice, which led him from the 1960s to make use of numerous tools (guns, styluses, broad brushes, rollers) to “act on the canvas”, thus renewing his conception of the act of painting. He also opened up to the use of vinyls and acrylics, materials which allowed great speed of action ».
« 1960, a turning point for several reasons is also that of his consecration: he received the International Grand Prize for Painting at the Venice Biennale. In 1973, his move to Antibes to a property where he drew up the plans of the house and studios, allowed him to lay his art out on very large formats ».
« Hartung’s oeuvre, whose force of renewal is constant, fits into the history of modernity through the aesthetic components which determines it ».
Extracts from the biography by Hartung Bergman and Anna-Eva Bergman Foundation