French painter, draughtsman and photographer of German birth, Hans Hartung showed a special interest in painting from an early age. He had an early enthusiasm for the work of Rembrandt and, later, for the work of the Expressionists, particularly Oskar Kokoschka and Emil Nolde. Despite having painted and drawn in an abstract form, Hartung only came into contact with the movement in 1925 at a lecture given by Vassily Kandinsky at the Kunstakademie. In 1926 at the Internatinale Kunstausstellung in Dresden, he first saw modern works by foreign painters such as Rousseau, Picasso, Georges Pouault, Matisse and Braque. In 1932, he went to the island of Minorca and, two years later, abandoned Cubism to return to a more instinctive style that he had developed in his watercolours and charcoal and chalk drawings in 1932-34. He exhibited regularly at the Salon des Indépendants and, in 1947, held his first one-man show on his return to Paris. In 1952-54, his work became more static, more serene and, at the end of this decade, Hartung, together with Fautrier, Wolls and Riopelle, became one of the most important painters in the Paris school. In 1955 and 1964, he took part in Documenta 1 and 3, in Kassel. In 1956, he received the Guggenheim prize and, in 1964, the International Grand Prix at the Venice Biennale. In 1981, he received the Oskar Kokoschka prize from the Austrian Republic. His last works were, generally, more varied, combining diverse forms in a genuinely abstract style, anticipating Informal Art.