Karl Hartung

Karl Hartung

Karl Hartung

Karl Hartung (*May 2, 1908 in Hamburg, †July 19, 1967 in Berlin) is one of the most important representatives of abstract sculpture in twentieth-century Germany. Karl Hartung was chair of the Deutscher Künstlerbund from 1955 to 1967.

Karl Hartung’s Artistic Career

The son of a carpenter began his training as a wood sculptor in Carl Briese’s workshops in 1923. From 1925 he continued his studies at the Staatliche Schulen für Angewandte Kunst in Hamburg under the sculptor Johann Michael Bossard.
In 1929 the artist received a grant from the Lichtwerk-Stiftung and moved to Paris. While there he studied anthroposophy (literally “human wisdom,” founded by Rudolf Steiner) intensively. In 1932 Hartung moved into a studio in Florence with the painter Ilse Quast, where he created works influenced by Michelangelo and Donatello.

Hartung’s Life between 1936 and 1945

Drei Jahre darauf heiratete das Künstlerpaar und zog schließlich 1936 nach Berlin. Mit der Rückkehr nach Deutschland wurde das Künstlerehepaar mit der Kunstzensur des NS-Regimes konfrontiert, der besonders Hartung mit heftiger Ablehnung gegenüberstand. Seine abstrakten Werke musste er ab diesem Zeitpunkt unter dem Deckmantel der Geheimhaltung schaffen.
In Berlin machte der Künstler 1939 Bekanntschaft mit Constantin Brancusi, Hans Arp und Henri Laurens. Diese und viele weitere Künstlerbekanntschaften prägten seine Arbeit nachhaltig.
1941 wurde Hartung zum Kriegsdienst eingezogen. In den folgenden Jahren konnte er sich kaum seiner Kunst widmen.

Das Leben nach dem Krieg für Karl Hartung

The artist couple married three years later and eventually moved to Berlin in 1936. Upon their return to Germany, they were confronted with the art censorship of the National Socialist regime, to which Hartung in particular was fiercely opposed. From this point on, he had to create his abstract works under the cover of secrecy.
The artist met Constantin Brancusi, Hans Arp and Henri Laurens in Berlin in 1939. They—and many other artist acquaintances—had a lasting influence on his work.
In 1941 Hartung was drafted for military service. In the following years he was hardly able to focus on his art.
subsequently appointed as a professor at the institution in 1951. After Karl Hofer’s death, he was appointed chair of the Deutscher Künstlerbund in 1955. In the same year the sculptor took part in documenta, which was considered the first comprehensive exhibition of modern art after the end of World War II.

In 1956 Hartung’s Große Kugelform was erected in Hanover. Measuring 189 cm tall, the sculpture was one of the first abstract sculptures in Germany to be erected as a public artwork as part of national reconstruction. In the same year he became a member of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin.

In 1958, as a member of the advisory board of the Villa Romana in Florence, Hartung had the privilege of choosing the recipients of the Villa Romana Prize, which is currently the oldest art prize still awarded in Germany. In 1959 Karl Hartung was appointed deputy director of the Hochschule der Bildenden Künste in Berlin and head of the department of fine arts. He also participated in documenta II that year. In 1961, the artist was awarded the Grand Prize of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia. The artist also took part in documenta III in 1964. Karl Hartung died on July 19, 1967 after a serious illness.

Karl Hartung’s Formal Language

Over the years Hartung developed his own unique formal language. Initially figurative, his work shifted toward abstraction and ultimately pursued a middle course between the two schools. His creativity not only continues to have an impact through his works, but also through his various teaching posts. He is one of the most important pioneers of modern art in post-war Germany.

Sources:
Kunsthaus Lempertz artist directory: https://www.lempertz.com/de/kataloge/kuenstlerverzeichnis/detail/hartung-karl.html (last accessed: 14/11/2020)

Karl Hartung received numerous awards, including:

1929 - Lichtwark Foundation Scholarship.
1950 - Berlin Art Prize for Sculpture. Member of the German Artists' Association.
1954 - Cornelius Prize of the city of Düsseldorf.
1961 - Grand Prize of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Karl Hartung was a member of numerous artists' associations, including:

1949 - Hartung is a founding member of the "Berliner Neue Gruppe" and the "Neue Gruppe" in Munich.
1951 - Member of the Munich artist group "ZEN 49".
1948 - Founding member of the artist group "Zone 5".
1955 - Chairman of the German Artists' Association. Participation in the documenta.
1956 - Member of the Academy of Arts, Berlin.
1957 - Founding member of the German section of the International Association of Fine Arts (AIAP).

Further information on Karl Hartung

1908 - Born in Hamburg on May 2.
1923 - Began training in the sculpture workshops of Carl Briese.
1925 - Studied at the State Schools for Applied Arts in Hamburg under the sculptor Johann Michael Bossard.
1929 - Moves to Paris. Intensive involvement with anthroposophy.
1932 - Hartung moves into a studio in Florence together with Ilse Quast. Influence of Michelangelo and Donatello.
1935 - Marriage with Ilse Quast. First abstract sculpture.
1936 - Moves to Berlin.
1939 - Acquaintance with Constantin Brancusi, Hans Arp and Henri Laurens. He titles various works "Vegetative Form".
1941 - Hartung is drafted for military service.
1947 - Birth of daughter Hanne. Numerous abstract and figurative wood sculptures are created.
1951 - Professorship in sculpture at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Berlin.
1954 - The organic, biomorphic abstraction is gradually abandoned.
1958 - Member of the advisory board of the Villa Romana in Florence.
1959 - Head of the Department of Fine Arts and Deputy Director of the Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin.
1959 - Participates in documenta II.
1967 - Karl Hartung dies on July 19 in Berlin.
1908 - Born in Hamburg on May 2.
1923 - Began training in the sculpture workshops of Carl Briese.
1925 - Studies at the State Schools of Applied Arts in Hamburg with the sculptor Johann Michael Bossard.
1929 - Scholarship from the Lichtwark Foundation. Moves to Paris. Intensive involvement with anthroposophy.
1932 - Hartung moves into a studio in Florence together with Ilse Quast. Influence of Michelangelo and Donatello.
1935 - Marriage with Ilse Quast. First abstract sculpture.
1936 - Moves to Berlin.
1939 - Acquaintance with Constantin Brancusi, Hans Arp and Henri Laurens. He titles various works "Vegetative Form".
1941 - Hartung is drafted for military service.
1947 - Birth of daughter Hanne. Numerous abstract and figurative wood sculptures are created.
1948 - Founding member of the artist group "Zone 5".
1949 - Hartung is a founding member of the "Berliner Neue Gruppe" and the "Neue Gruppe" in Munich.
1950 - Berlin Art Prize for sculpture. Member of the German Artists' Association.
1951 - Professorship for sculpture at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Berlin. Member of the Munich artist group "ZEN 49".
1954 - Cornelius Prize of the city of Düsseldorf. Gradually abandons organic, biomorphic abstraction.
1955 - Chairmanship of the German Artists' Association. Participation in the documenta.
1956 - Member of the Academy of Arts, Berlin.
1957 - Founding member of the German section of the International Association of Fine Arts (AIAP).
1958 - Member of the advisory board of the Villa Romana in Florence.
1959 - Head of the Department of Fine Arts and Deputy Director of the College of Fine Arts in Berlin. Participation in the documenta II.
1961 - Grand Prize of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.
1967 - Karl Hartung dies on July 19 in Berlin.

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© Copyright Galerie Utermann 2020

© Copyright Galerie Utermann 2020

© Copyright Galerie Utermann 2020

Galerie Utermann, Silberstraße 22, 44137 Dortmund

Galerie Utermann, Silberstraße 22, 44137 Dortmund

Galerie Utermann, Silberstraße 22, 44137 Dortmund