Hartung was born in Leipzig, Germany into an artistic family. He developed an early appreciation of Rembrandt, German painters such as Lovis Corinth, and the Expressionists Oskar Kokoschka and Emil Nolde. In 1924 he enrolled in Leipzig University, where he studied philosophy and art history. He subsequently studied at the Fine Arts academy of Dresden, where he copied the paintings of the masters. The modern French and Spanish works he saw in 1926 at the Internationale Kunstausstellung in Dresden were a revelation to him, and he decided that he would leave his native country to prevent succumbing to provincialism. Consequently, after a bicycle trip through Italy, he moved to Paris.
In Paris, Hartung had little contact with other artists, and copied the works of old and modern masters. He visited the south of France, where the landscape inspired him to a close study of the works of Cézanne, and he developed a great interest in principles of harmony and proportion such as...See author's sheet: Hans Hartung