Nahmad Contemporary is pleased to present three paintings created in the 1970s by Hans Hartung.
Hans Hartung (b. 1904, Leipzig, Germany; d.1989, Antibes, France) is one of the most acclaimed European painters of the postwar era. Settling in Paris in 1945, Hartung worked among artists associated with the School of Paris and Art Informel, such as Jean Dubuffet and Pierre Soulages. Embodying the freeform style of his contemporaries and the expressive aesthetic characteristic to the era, Hartung's early works feature bold and calligraphic strokes of paint assembled onto colored grounds.
From 1960-80s, Hartung employed a breadth of newfound tools and mark-making techniques to apply pigment to his canvas. He used a compressed-air spray gun to create a unified ground with radiating swathes of color and other unconventional tools, such as tree branches or garden rakes, to mark his surfaces. Unlike his earlier works, the gestural marks on these mid-career paintings evince the physical exertion involved in their making.
In these paintings from the 1970s, the effects of a rake’s teeth emphatically scraping the colored ground are palpable. Yet, amid the spraying, scraping and thrashing, the artist maintained incredible reign over his tools. The inherently unruly devices were governed to generate deliberate patterns, forms and expanses of color within an orderly composition. Adhering to an unwavering method of applying paint that predicated on disciplined mark-making, Hartung unleashed controlled bouts of impulse and emotion.
Hartung’s brilliant interplay between technical control and stylistic freedom radically distinguished his work from that of his peers early in his career and continued through the end of his life. His artistic legacy can be found in the work of various artists that came after him, from the splattered marks of Sam Francis, to the brazen experimentation of Sigmar Polke and the systematic approach of Gerhard Richter.