Hans Hartung (1904 – 1989) was a German painter naturalized French.
In 1935, to avoid Nazi persecution of so-called degenerate art, he left Germany and moved to Paris, where he lived in great straits. When the war broke out, he enlisted in the Foreign Legion on December 26, 1939, but after a few months he was demobilized in Sidi Bel Abbes; upon reaching France he worked as an agricultural laborer. In 1942 he took refuge in Spain, where he was arrested and imprisoned for seven months. After liberation, he reached North Africa and on December 8, 1942, re-enlisted in the Legion. Assigned to the Marching Regiment he fought in Tunisia and landed in France on Oct. 1, 1944. In November he was seriously wounded in the fighting at Belfort in an attempt to drag a wounded comrade within his own lines. Evacuated, he was amputated of his right leg. He was reformed from the Legion on May 19, 1945. Naturalized French in 1946, he was decorated with the 1939-1945 War Cross, the Military Medal and the Legion of Honor.
In 1945 he resumed his painting activity interrupted due to the conflict.
If in his early works he highlighted adherence to non-figurative art, characterized by abstract expressive elements, after World War II he developed an informal research on painting based on the value of the ‘sign,’ on the mixture of spontaneity and control, of graphic and pictorial cues.
In 1960 he received the Grand Prize of the Venice Biennale.