london

Hans Hartung, T1986–H45, 1986, acrylic on canvas, 38 1/4 x 57 1/2".

Hans Hartung

Timothy Taylor Gallery

Hans Hartung, T1986–H45, 1986, acrylic on canvas, 38 1/4 x 57 1/2".

I never thought I’d have either the desire or the occasion to write about the paintings of Hans Hartung. No desire, because the few paintings I’d seen from his heyday in the 1950s, either on the walls of European museums or in the pages of art-history books, always struck me as brittle and overagitated in their choppily repetitive linear gestures. No occasion, because it hardly seemed likely that I would ever cross paths with a significant show of work by the Leipzig-born School of Paris abstractionist, he having become little more than a faint whisper in the historical memory.

Well, that’s all changed. Not that I’m ready to recant my opinions about Hartung’s paintings of the ’50s—though now I’d welcome the opportunity for a closer look. Instead, it’s his very late work that has recently come to my attention for the first time—initially in an exhibition last fall at Cheim

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