Hans Hartung was born in Leipzig in 1904. Very precocious in his artistic creation, he copies figurative works to keep only colored stains. He first studied at university and then enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Dresden from 1925 to 1926, when he lived in Paris. He was then interested in Impressionism, Fauvism and Cubism.
During the war, Hans Hartung fought against Nazism by enlisting in the Foreign Legion. He obtained French nationality in 1946 and began to make a name for himself thanks to numerous exhibitions devoted to him. In 1960, when he was the winner of the International Grand Prize for Painting at the Venice Biennale, he changed his artistic practice by using paint scraping and turning to industrial paints which allowed him to create in series.
In 1972, Hans Hartung moved with his wife, the artist Anna-Eva Bergman, to a house and studio he had built in Antibes. In 1977, he was elected to the Academy of Fine Arts. He did not stop painting, notably with a spray gun, until a few weeks before his death on December 7, 1989.