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Artists Hans Richter
Hans Richter Photo

Hans Richter

German Painter, Graphic Artist, and Filmmaker

Movements and Styles: Dada, Surrealism, Constructivism

Born: April 6, 1888 - Berlin, Germany

Died: February 1, 1976 - Minusio, Locarno, Switzerland

Hans Richter Timeline

Quotes

"Surrealism devoured and digested Dada."
Hans Richter
"Everything must be pulled apart, not a screw left in its customary place, the screw-holes wrenched out of shape .. the total negation of everything that had existed before."
Hans Richter
"I conceive of the film as a modern art form particularly interesting to the sense of sight. Painting has its own peculiar problems and specific sensations, and so has the film. But there are also problems in which the dividing line is obliterated, or where the two infringe upon each other. More especially, the cinema can fulfill certain promises made by the ancient arts, in the realization of which painting and film become close neighbors and work together."
Hans Richter
"Problems in modern art lead directly into the film. Organization and orchestration of form, color, the dynamics of motion, simultaneity, were problems with which Cézanne, the cubists, the futurists had to deal".
Hans Richter
"I believe firmly that music for the silent avant-garde film is essential. Of course it depends on what music. However I do not believe in the synchronization of sound and image... I agree with Man Ray that we must avoid complete synchronization. We should find a way to let the sound and the picture move on its own in the same direction, but nevertheless, separately. This refers to the spoken word as well as to the musical and other sounds."
Hans Richter
"One of the few truly incorruptible artists of the left."
Fredrich Kracaur

"The life we led, our follies and our deeds of heroism, our provocations, however 'polemical' and aggressive they may have been, were all part of a tireless quest for an anti-art, a new way of thinking, feeling and knowing."

Synopsis

A cosmopolitan figure, Hans Richter's very career embodies the history of modern art from World War I to the 1960s, Dadaism to Constructivism, Surrealism, and Fluxus. As editor of the seminal journal G, he created a vital link between Western European art and the Soviet avant-garde in the 1920s. Even more importantly, he was a pioneering filmmaker, among the first to make purely abstract cinema, and a mentor to American directors of the 1950s and beyond. Personally, Richter experienced the 20th century's political nightmares first-hand, from combat in World War I in which he was severely wounded, to persecution by the Nazis and artistic censure in the Soviet Union. He never saw his art as separate from the conflicts and sufferings of humanity, but instead devoted his art to the creation of a better society.

Key Ideas

Profoundly influenced by music, Richter was able to capture the rhythmic nature of abstract forms in paintings, drawings, and films, and to synthesize the oppositions of dark and light, and organic and geometric shapes by using counterpoint like a musician. Richter also collaborated with major composers of his time and considered their scores essential to his films, pioneering the fusion of image and sound in cinema.
Though Richter made both representational and abstract art, he created an abstract visual language that was universal, able to convey not only aesthetic experience but revolutionary political ideas as well.
He transcended 19th century concepts of painting through film, setting static shapes into visual movement. This dynamism of film, made possible through new technology, for him embodied modernity itself.
Richter used a synthesis of abstract forms, Dadaist collage, and the ancient medium of scrolls to create epics of contemporary history, despite the fact that many modernist artists considered history painting to be outmoded.

Biography

Hans Richter Photo

Childhood

Richter was born in Berlin into a prosperous Jewish family, one of six children. Richter began to draw in his early high school days, producing several portraits of his schoolmates as well as sketches from nature and urban life. Richter's mother, Ida Gabriele, was an accomplished harpist and pianist and instilled a lifelong love of music in her son. After graduation, Richter decided on a career in art, but his father, Moritz Richter, insisted that he train as an architect. In preparation for a career in architecture, Richter endured a two-year stint as a carpenter and joiner's apprentice in his father's business, the "Mississippi Grass Twine Company" of Berlin.

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Hans Richter Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Hans Richter
Interactive chart with Hans Richter's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Marcel DuchampMarcel Duchamp
Man RayMan Ray
Theo van DoesburgTheo van Doesburg
El LissitzkyEl Lissitzky
Kazimir MalevichKazimir Malevich

Personal Contacts

Wassily KandinskyWassily Kandinsky
Paul CézannePaul Cézanne

Movements

CubismCubism
ExpressionismExpressionism
DadaDada
ConstructivismConstructivism

Influences on Artist
Hans Richter
Hans Richter
Years Worked: 1916 - 1962
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Marcel DuchampMarcel Duchamp
Yves TanguyYves Tanguy

Personal Contacts

Movements

DadaDada
SurrealismSurrealism

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Content compiled and written by Jen Farren

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Jen Farren
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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