Hans Hartung



Not on display

Hans Hartung 1904–1989
Acrylic paint on canvas
Support: 1797 × 1410 mm
Purchased 1966

Display caption

Hartung developed a vigorously gestural and linear style in the early 1930s. Believing that painting should record and evoke his immediate inner experiences, tensions and energies, he rejected observation and memory as possible starting points and relied instead on spontaneous feeling and direct physical action. He thereby anticipated by many years the post-war development of what became known as Art Informel and was widely influential during this period. This painting was made by scratching rhythmic and sweeping lines into the top layer of a vinyl coating before it dried. Hartung developed this particular technique in the early 1960s.

Gallery label, August 2004

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Catalogue entry

Hans Hartung born 1904 [- 1989]

T00816 T1963-R6 1963

Inscribed 'Hartung 63' b.r. and 'T 1963-R6 | HAUT [with an arrow]' on stretcher
Vinyl media on canvas, 70 3/4 x 55 1/2 (180 x 141)
Purchased from the artist (Gytha Trust) 1966
Exh: Hans Hartung, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, March-April 1968 (109, repr.)
Repr: Official Guide to the Tate Gallery (London 1970), p.35

The artist wrote of this work on 23 April 1966 as follows: 'This painting, T1963-R6, has not yet been exhibited or reproduced. It belongs to a series of pictures which I painted in March 1963. The pictures which are most closely related to it are T1963-R4 (exhibited in Morocco 1963/1964 and at the Galerie de France, Paris, 1964. Collection Kostelitz, Paris/South America) and T1963-R3 (exhibited in Brussels 1963 and in Amsterdam 1963/1964).

'As regards the technique, T1963-R6 is painted on a vinyl preparation and is also itself composed of vinyl media, the top layer of which I scratched while it was still in a liquid state. It has been coated with a varnish, called V14'.

All three paintings are characterised by patterns of fine lines like tresses of hair scratched into a dark zone which runs across the picture occupying almost the full height of it. Each picture contains two or three different rhythms of scratches.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.353, reproduced p.353

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