Hans Hartung — Dans les pas de Hans Hartung

Exhibition

Collage, drawing, painting, mixed media

Hans Hartung
Dans les pas de Hans Hartung

Ends in about 1 month: September 10 → October 31, 2020

The history between Hans Hartung and the Berthet-Aittouarès Gallery was not written overnight.

It’s a history tied to a place, since at this same address in 1936, when the gallery was still called Pierre, Hartung at the very beginning of his Paris career was invited by Pierre Loeb to present one of his paintings right beside a work by the artist Jean Hélion, who would become one of Hans’ closest friends.

This gallery is infused with a history of the people that shaped and continue to shape the space since Michèle and Jean-François Aittouarès got to know Hans Hartung in the 1980’s, when the painter had hosted them at his residence and workshop in Antibes.

The exhibition held at the gallery in 2006, entitled «Out of bounds», had already made reference to this special history, and the one opening today even more so. While the twenty works assembled here accurately trace Hans Hartung’s path, they also reveal how Michèle and Odile Aittouarès, in maintaining an attitude true to form, have consistently perceived and projected Hans’ creations.

Hartung%201 1 medium
Hans Hartung, T1982-K40, 1982 Painting on canvas — 130 × 102 cm Galerie Berthet-Aittouarès

These twenty pieces, obviously not Hartung’s complete body of work, do however convey the inflection points through which the artist transitioned his craft. For Hartung, painting meant continual reinvention. The artist’s working techniques are on full display in this collection: the incisive pastel line, the jubilatory spreading of Chinese ink extending to small pebbles painted on each of their exposed faces, the scratched picture surface that served as his hallmark at the beginning of the 1960’s as well as toward the end of the painter’s life, the use of broom plants and then the garden sprayer to yield lavish works evocative of Hans Hartung’s range of artistic prowess. From his 1950’s pastels, imprinted with a masterful technique, to the final spray-on canvas, the arc bounces between euphoria and swan scenes, with the spotlight also drawn to his 1960’s lacerated paintings in which light gushes like from a scar against a bleak backdrop, as an unperturbed man persists in his quest.

Exposed here is the consistency of an artist, as seen through the lens of his metamorphoses. A man’s pursuit of being true to self, who never strayed from his myriad ways of conceiving painting. Being admired in a gallery that has hung the work of Jean Degottex and Henri Michaux, among others, is a testament to the complicity between this body of work, this venue and those curating it.

Odile Aittouarès