Fondation Hartung-Bergman



The last major monograph on Hans Hartung was written by Pierre Daix, 30 years ago, as the artist’s life was coming to an end. Hartung left behind a considerable body of work, but his final period still wasn’t understood or justly appreciated.It was time to bring Daix’s colossal and historic book up to date. Pierre Wat, who in fact won the Prix Pierre Daix in 2018, took up the task.This autumn, Éditions Hazan will publish a work that will itself make history: Hans Hartung, la peinture pour mémoire.

Pierre Wat worked in intimate contact with Hartung’s works and in constant collaboration with the Fondation’s teams to represent both the artist’s multiple experiments and the unity underlying his long life.

Without neglecting the biographical dimension, Pierre Wat’s book concentrates above all on the quality and meaning of Hartung’s artistic production and is based on an extremely rich iconography.This volume is thus an art object itself, giving the fullest homage to who Hartung was and what he produced.

As the publisher writes:

An essential figure in the history of modern art, a key actor in that of abstract art, throughout his life Hans Hartung (1904–1989) left behind him souvenirs of his activity: a “self-portrait” in words, which he published in 1976, and still other words, archives, works, intertwined …For remembrance.

To write about Hans Hartung is to follow him step by step, to confront the legacy preserved today in the very home of his life and painting: the house he built with his wife, the artist Anna-Eva Bergman, now the Fondation Hartung-Bergman.Hartung wanted this place and its contents to be dedicated to research.

This monograph, born of that desire, is the first of such scope.Pierre Wat conceived it as a long conversation with the painter.Sifting through this trove of statements, archives, and works, something of Hartung’s truth, the truth he wanted us to seek out, breaks free.

A prolific artist, Hartung left us an immense oeuvre, in which the author was able to immerse himself, stage by stage, year by year, sometimes hour by hour, from the first abstract watercolors of 1922 to the last canvases, painted with a garden sprayer, in 1989. The choice to summon for each work the memory of a moment, a gesture, an intention, brought out, beyond changes of rhythm, method, or instrument, the profound continuity that guided the painter from the very beginning.

Hartung’s time spirals: it goes forward with the past in mind, in order to produce from it, constantly, the new.In this play between knowledge and sensation, there emerges an incredibly singular artist, far from the “lyric” clichés that have long clung to him.A man for whom art is at once exploration and memory, investigation of the self and recording of the world, infinitely.

Pierre Wat,Hans Hartung, la peinture pour mémoire
Éditions Hazan
ISBN: 978 2 7541 1082 2
99 €
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