Hans Hartung: Painter • Photographer

A swiss-bound, hardback publication to accompany Hans Hartung: Painter • Photographer, an exhibition that illuminates the importance of photography to the development of the painter’s work. 

Shown alongside the photography are paintings spanning four decades – including several masterpieces from the 1940s through to the hazy, sulfateuse canvases of the 1980s. Hartung’s photographs show how his approach to abstraction was rooted in an external, lived reality life of the world. A contrast to the internal concerns of the self that occupied many painters working at that time.

A childhood fascination with light and lightning, gave Hartung the moniker ‘the painter of lightning’ – ‘I am sure that those childish bolts influenced my artistic development, the way I paint. They gave me the sense of speed in drawing a line, the desire to capture the instant with a pencil or brush’.



22 April – 1 July 2022


280 × 220 mm




Swiss bound hardback


Basel Classic, Basel Grotesk


Louise Malcolm

Continuing his love of innovation, towards the 1960s Hartung started to invent painting tools to trace and mimic the light effects and textures captured by his photographs: sharp instruments scratch into paint to reveal other colours beneath – an echo of his lightning bolts – while comb-like implements and found items like olive tree branches provide striations and texture.

Much like Hartung’s approach, the publication embraces movement on the page whilst following a formulaic placement of text and image. These set rules/tools allow for a dynamic page structure – breaking this rhythm with occasional full bleed images highlighting the impressive details in his paintings. 

Amongst the works are text contributions interspersed by Louise Malcolm, Lena Fritsch and Pauline Mari. 

The typeface Basel is used throughout, which is composed of two variants: Grotesk and Classic by Chi-Long Trieu. Both variants uses the same skeleton, playing with the balance of steadiness and decisively contrasting stroke modulations in the titling. 

The exhibition at Waddington Custot, London, brings to life the balance between painting and photography – uncovering how both disciplines were tools that Hartung used to reveal his singular vision of the world and continuous search for visual abstraction within it. Within the exhibition are moments of playful arrangement, subtle caption placement and gesturing supergraphics.


Thomas Adank