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Hans Hartung (1904-1989)

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One of the exhibitions i thought to be one of the very best during the time i was working at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, was one curated by Franz Kaiser on the abstract artist Hans Hartung . Just one word describes the exhibition….impressive.

It showed that the art Hartung created was not just random, but a well thought over creation of abstract art in which a small sketch was turned into a large painting.

Here is the text on the exhibition:

Hans Hartung (b. Dresden, 1904) was regarded as one of the founding fathers of French Lyric Abstractionism, the European counterpart of American Abstract Expressionism: a term in which the word Expressionism refers to an extremely physical and spontaneous manner of painting. The members of the movement wanted, as it were, to work out their emotions on the canvas without any form of symbolism.

Hartung’s paintings displayed a plain ground covered with rough and apparently spontaneous brushwork, with all the paint spatters and brush marks that go with that way of painting. After his death, therefore, people were astounded when the study of unfinished pictures revealed that his paintings had not in fact been created in a wild and spontaneous way, but by carefully filling in predetermined outlines based in every detail, right down to the smallest flecks of paint, on sketches prepared in advance. This exhibition, which the Gemeentemuseum is holding to mark the hundredth anniversary of Hartung’s birth, reveals an artist who would better be described as a conceptual artist, were it not for the fact that conceptual art did not exist as a movement when he produced his works. In this first Dutch retrospective of Hans Hartung’s work, early drawings are presented next to the equivalent paintings, and early versions alongside later versions. The similarities in terms of motif are astonishing.

More about Hans Hartung: www.fondationhartungbergman.fr

There are some nice publications on Hartung available at www.ftn-books.com

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Barbara Nanning (1957)..organic shapes in glass and ceramics.

Born in Den Haag, Barbara Nanning made herself an artist career in glass and ceramic objects. With one contant…. almost all her works look to be inspired by nature and organisms. Just take a look at this screenprint from Google and see for yourself what i mean. The objects look like corals, shells, plants and organs. These are heavily inspired by nature and the feeling i get from them differs. Some of them i wat to touch and caress and with others i feel unease. It is nice that these feelings are called on to you and it is a certwain quality of the art of Babara Nanning. The is one artist who gives me the same mixed feelings as Nanning does. Emil Schumacher has the same effect on me ( see the blog on Schumacher from a few years ago).

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There is an excellent book on Nanning for sale at www.,ftn-books.com