Exhibition at Mazzoleni London explores works by Hans Hartung and Art Informel

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Exhibition at Mazzoleni London explores works by Hans Hartung and Art Informel
Installation view.

LONDON.- Mazzoleni London is presenting Hans Hartung and Art Informel, which opened to the public on the 1 October 2019 and continues until the 18 January 2020. Collating artworks from four decades, the London exhibition focuses on a selection of Hartung’s paintings shown in context with early post-war works by some of the most important artists within the Art Informel movement of the 20th century. A further solo exhibition of Hans Hartung’s work will open to the public at the Turin gallery on 25 October 2019 until 18 January 2020, a continuation of the gallery’s interest in the artist, since presenting selected works by Hans Hartung in 2004. The exhibitions mark the 30th anniversary of the artist’s death.

Hans Hartung is a renowned figure within the Art Informel movement and of gestural abstract painting. The London exhibition examines the origins of Hartung’s work and investigates the discourse between the diverse circle of artists present in Paris during the 50s and 60s. Works by artists such as Giuseppe Capogrossi; Hisao Domoto; Jean Fautrier; Toshimitsu Imai; Henri Michaux; Georges Mathieu; Serge Poliakoff; Jean-Paul Riopelle; Gérard Schneider; Pierre Soulages; Wols and Zao Wou-Ki, are being presented with the aim to elucidate the artistic relationships which embraced tachisme and lyrical abstraction. The main section of the display focuses on works by Hartung from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s, moreover, tracking the evolution of his particular visual language to reveal an artist who was continually striving for the unfamiliar and the original.

Experimenting with rapid movement, Hartung used ‘grattage’, a technique where freshly applied paint is removed by scraping in order to create dynamic works with intense marks. Often fields of colour invade the canvas, compounded by aggressive scratches, depicting tension between the background and the surface. Hartung commented, ‘What I love is to act on the canvas. To act? That is to scratch, to tear, to stain, to invade the canvas with colour, in brief everything which is not "to paint".

The results are dramatic and timeless. The works displayed in Hans Hartung and Art Informel bear witness to a time that challenged the very pillars of artistic tradition and laid the foundations of the birth of a new modern age. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with an essay in English and Italian by Alan Montgomery.

Hans Hartung was born in 1904 in Leipzig, Germany. He studied philosophy and art history at universities and academies in Leipzig and in Dresden. In 1935 he moved to Paris and during the Second World War, he joined the Foreign Legion. After the war, Hartung returned to the capital as a French citizen.

His first Parisian solo exhibition was held in 1947 at the Galerie Lydia Conti. In 1948, Hartung participated for the first time in the 24th edition of the Venice Biennale, and in the succeeding 26th and 27th editions. He received the Guggenheim International Prize in 1956 and the Grand Prize for painting at the 30th edition of the Venice Biennale in 1960. In 1957, Hartung exhibited works at the Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Rome, alongside Lucio Fontana, Giuseppe Capogrossi, Alberto Magnelli and Giuseppe Santomaso. In 1966, the Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna (GAM) in Turin, presented a retrospective exhibition that brought together more than 180 works. The exhibition Painting in France, 1900-1967, opened in 1968 at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, then toured to the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York, later to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, and finally established Hartung in the USA. In 1969, a major retrospective was organised at the Musée National d’art Moderne (now housed in the Centre Pompidou) in Paris. He was awarded the Grand Prix des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris in 1970. In 1984, a dozen large paintings dated from 1980-1984 were exhibited in the French pavilion at the 41st edition of the Venice Biennale. Hartung died in 1989 in the house that he named ‘Champ des Oliviers’ in Antibes, France. The villa is now home to the Fondation Hartung-Bergman, which promotes both his work and that of his wife Anna-Eva Bergman.

A major retrospective dedicated to Hans Hartung will open this year at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (from 11 October 2019 to 1 March 2020).

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