22/04/2022 - 01/07/2022

Early-Mid C20th - Photography & Painting

Hans Hartung - Painter • Photographer

‘I took photos of everything that interested me in the world: people, clouds, water, mountains, cracks, stains, and all sorts of light and shade effects, which – sometimes – have a more or less direct relationship to my painting.’

While many are familiar with the abstract paintings of German-French artist Hans Hartung (b.1904, Leipzig, Germany; d.1989, Antibes, France), few know of their connection to his photography. In collaboration with the Hartung-Bergman Foundation, Waddington Custot presents Hans Hartung: Painter, Photographer, a museum-quality exhibition that illuminates the importance of photography to the development of the painter’s work. Today, approximately 30,000 photographic negatives are held by the Foundation, with those the artist printed organised chronologically and thematically in numerous albums, demonstrating the tremendous value he ascribed them. Nevertheless Hartung’s photographs – a vital yet rarely explored aspect of his practice – have never before been exhibited in London; this will be the first time that some have been publicly exhibited.

Shown alongside paintings spanning four decades – including masterpieces from the 1940s to the hazy, sulfateuse canvases of the 1980s – Hartung’s photographs show how his approach to abstraction was rooted in an external, lived reality of the world, in contrast to the internal concerns of the self that occupied many painters working at that time.


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