Hans Heinrich Ernst Hartung was born in Leipzig in 1904. He began receiving private painting instruction in 1917, and from 1924 to 1925 attended Leipzig’s graphic arts school, the Staatliche Akademie für graphische Künste und Buchgewerbe (as it was then called), at the same time studying art history, philosophy and psychology at the University of Leipzig. In 1925 he moved to Dresden and enrolled in the fine arts academy, the Akademie der bildenden Künste. A year later Hartung travelled to Paris, the first of numerous trips and stays around Europe. In Paris he became acquainted with a number of artists of the avant-garde, among them Wassily Kandinsky and Joan Miró. In 1939 Hartung joined the Foreign Legion and was briefly stationed in North Africa. In 1942 he fled to Spain, and after the war he again worked in Paris. Hartung had his first solo exhibition in 1947 at the Galerie Lydia Conti in Paris, where he met Willi Baumeister, Fritz Winter and Pierre Soulages. Around 1950 he began to attract increasing international recognition. He participated in documenta 1 in Kassel in 1955, and in 1960 was awarded the Grand International Prize for Painting at the Venice Biennale. In 1964 he travelled to Spain, Japan and the United States. Hartung is considered one of the chief representatives of European Art Informel. He died in Antibes in 1989.