A pioneer of Lyrical Abstraction, Hans Hartung (1904-1989) studied philosophy and the history of art in Germany, leaving when the Nazis came to power and settling in Paris. He joined the Foreign Legion in 1939, was badly wounded and lost a leg. After the war he took French nationality. “What I love is acting on canvas”. Rejecting geometrical abstraction, he offers painting based on the spontaneous act of applying the paint: long black strokes that seem to claw across what are often monochrome backgrounds, giving his austere calligraphic language a sense of freedom and rebellion.
His painting for the 1980 Mouton Rothschild label concentrates all the depth and explosive power of his larger works.