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LOT 006

Hans Hartung

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1904 - 1989
German

T1961–26
acrylic and pastel on canvas
signed and dated 1961 and on verso titled on the gallery label and inscribed "vernis v.14"
24 x 18 1/8 in, 61 x 46 cm

CAD

Preview at: Heffel Toronto – 13 Hazelton Ave

PROVENANCE
Galerie de France, Paris, 1963
Galería René Metras, Barcelona
Samuel B. Nitikman, Winnipeg
By descent to Ernest Sirluck, Toronto
By descent to the present Private Collection, Vancouver

Born in Germany, Hans Hartung immigrated to France in 1926. He was always experimental with form, material and technique. Adopting an abstract idiom when he was still in high school, his watercolour Blue in the Centre (1922), for example, is Kandinsky-esque in its highly chromatic and gestural expressiveness. Hartung was increasingly central to movements in abstract painting in France. After World War II, he was part of an extensive European re-engagement with abstraction under the banner of Art Informel, an international circle that included Karel Appel, Jean Dubuffet, Asger Jorn and, notably, the Canadian Jean Paul Riopelle. Only loosely affiliated and stylistically eclectic, Informel usually emphasized Lyrical Abstraction—as distinct from the form’s monochromatic, geometrical and biomorphic interests—and is well exemplified by Hartung’s work. Contemporary with Abstract Expressionism in the USA, Hartung’s approach is typically lighter in touch and mood than his American or European fellow travelers.

T1961–26 was painted at the height of Hartung’s acclaim in Europe. In 1960, he won the International Grand Prize for Painting at the 30th Venice Biennale. Experimenting with acrylic paint in an unusual combination with pastel in T1961–26, Hartung produced a work that is at once freely expressive yet also controlled, highly keyed in colour yet subtle, boldly self-confident yet not aggressive in its gestures.

Hartung’s skill shows in his ability to calibrate and balance what we come to see as many potentially conflicting elements. The strong black outline forged by the frame easily contains a contrasting field on which Hartung paints. In its format, but more significantly in its elaboration of the languages of abstract painting, we could call T1961–26 a “portrait” of an abstraction. The lightly splattered surface is visually interesting in itself, especially in contrast with the unmodulated frame. But its main purpose is to support the painting’s central forms. At first glance, it might appear that Hartung is quite conventionally building an image that moves out towards us. The delicate swathes of blue that create a central (but not geometrically centred) focus could at first seem to be the foundation for the tangle of curvilinear green lines that Hartung has animated in motion, this time across the surface from left to right instead of the blue’s vertical motion. But Hartung has layered his surface more shrewdly than this: skeins of blue also run across the green calligraphy, not so much obscuring—or, on the other hand, integrating these lines—as animating his colours, textures and shapes in a sort of dance. In its endless subtleties and self-sufficiency of means and meaning, T1961–26 is joyfully hermetic.

We thank Mark A. Cheetham for contributing the above essay. Cheetham is a freelance writer, curator and a professor of art history at the University of Toronto. He is the author of Abstract Art Against Autonomy: Infection, Resistance, and Cure since the ’60s.

This work is registered in the archives of the Fondation Hartung Bergman under the number T1961–26, and will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné for Hans Hartung currently being prepared by the foundation.

Estimate: $80,000 - $120,000 CAD

All prices are in Canadian Dollars

Although great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information posted, errors and omissions may occur. All bids are subject to our Terms and Conditions of Business. Bidders must ensure they have satisfied themselves with the condition of the Lot prior to bidding. Condition reports are available upon request.

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23 Nov 2023
Canada
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[ translate ]

1904 - 1989
German

T1961–26
acrylic and pastel on canvas
signed and dated 1961 and on verso titled on the gallery label and inscribed "vernis v.14"
24 x 18 1/8 in, 61 x 46 cm

CAD

Preview at: Heffel Toronto – 13 Hazelton Ave

PROVENANCE
Galerie de France, Paris, 1963
Galería René Metras, Barcelona
Samuel B. Nitikman, Winnipeg
By descent to Ernest Sirluck, Toronto
By descent to the present Private Collection, Vancouver

Born in Germany, Hans Hartung immigrated to France in 1926. He was always experimental with form, material and technique. Adopting an abstract idiom when he was still in high school, his watercolour Blue in the Centre (1922), for example, is Kandinsky-esque in its highly chromatic and gestural expressiveness. Hartung was increasingly central to movements in abstract painting in France. After World War II, he was part of an extensive European re-engagement with abstraction under the banner of Art Informel, an international circle that included Karel Appel, Jean Dubuffet, Asger Jorn and, notably, the Canadian Jean Paul Riopelle. Only loosely affiliated and stylistically eclectic, Informel usually emphasized Lyrical Abstraction—as distinct from the form’s monochromatic, geometrical and biomorphic interests—and is well exemplified by Hartung’s work. Contemporary with Abstract Expressionism in the USA, Hartung’s approach is typically lighter in touch and mood than his American or European fellow travelers.

T1961–26 was painted at the height of Hartung’s acclaim in Europe. In 1960, he won the International Grand Prize for Painting at the 30th Venice Biennale. Experimenting with acrylic paint in an unusual combination with pastel in T1961–26, Hartung produced a work that is at once freely expressive yet also controlled, highly keyed in colour yet subtle, boldly self-confident yet not aggressive in its gestures.

Hartung’s skill shows in his ability to calibrate and balance what we come to see as many potentially conflicting elements. The strong black outline forged by the frame easily contains a contrasting field on which Hartung paints. In its format, but more significantly in its elaboration of the languages of abstract painting, we could call T1961–26 a “portrait” of an abstraction. The lightly splattered surface is visually interesting in itself, especially in contrast with the unmodulated frame. But its main purpose is to support the painting’s central forms. At first glance, it might appear that Hartung is quite conventionally building an image that moves out towards us. The delicate swathes of blue that create a central (but not geometrically centred) focus could at first seem to be the foundation for the tangle of curvilinear green lines that Hartung has animated in motion, this time across the surface from left to right instead of the blue’s vertical motion. But Hartung has layered his surface more shrewdly than this: skeins of blue also run across the green calligraphy, not so much obscuring—or, on the other hand, integrating these lines—as animating his colours, textures and shapes in a sort of dance. In its endless subtleties and self-sufficiency of means and meaning, T1961–26 is joyfully hermetic.

We thank Mark A. Cheetham for contributing the above essay. Cheetham is a freelance writer, curator and a professor of art history at the University of Toronto. He is the author of Abstract Art Against Autonomy: Infection, Resistance, and Cure since the ’60s.

This work is registered in the archives of the Fondation Hartung Bergman under the number T1961–26, and will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné for Hans Hartung currently being prepared by the foundation.

Estimate: $80,000 - $120,000 CAD

All prices are in Canadian Dollars

Although great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information posted, errors and omissions may occur. All bids are subject to our Terms and Conditions of Business. Bidders must ensure they have satisfied themselves with the condition of the Lot prior to bidding. Condition reports are available upon request.

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Sale price
Unlock
Estimate
Unlock
Time, Location
23 Nov 2023
Canada
Auction House
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