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 Hans Richter  (1888 - 1976)

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Lived/Active: New York / Germany/Switzerland      Known for: abstraction, collage

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Hans Richter (b. 1888 / d. 1976)

Hans Richter was born in Berlin, Germany on April 6, 1888.

Richter briefly attended the University of Berlin, in 1906, studying architecture.  In 1908, he then attended Hochschule fur Bildende Kunst in Berlin and then in Weimar in 1909. Unfortunately, his dedication to the arts was interrupted in 1914 to 1916 by serving in the German army.  In 1916, Richter was wounded on the Russian front and was discharged.

After his discharge, Richter moved to Zurich where he obtained his roots in Expressionalism being influenced by Wassily Kandinsky and Hans Arp.  It was in 1916, that Richter received his first one man show in Munich at the Galerie Hans Goltz. In Zurich, Richter did group exhibitions of his work including two shows, Dada and Die Neue Kunst: Dada and at the Galerie Corray and the Salon Wolfsburg in 1917 and 1918 respectively.

After they met in 1918, Richter and Viking Eggeling worked closely together on several abstract cinema formulation.  No films were produced but their studies showed a succession of images suggesting sources and analogies to music.

In the early 1920’s, Richter produced the first abstract film and now-famous, Rhythm 21 and Rhythm 23 and Rhythm 25.  During these years he was loosely affiliated with the Berlin Dad group; however his interests were moving towards International Constructivism.

In 1941, Richter emigrated to the United States from Switzerland. Here he joined the group the American Abstract Artist group.  In New York he was exhibited at the Helena Rubenstein Gallery, in Maitres de l’Art Abstrait.

From 1942 to 1956, Richter was director and taught at the Institute of Film Techniques at the City College of New York.  In 1946, Richter had a one-man-show held in New York at the Art of This Century Gallery, an organization founded by Peggy Guggenheim.  Richter then became president of this gallery in 1948.  He married Frida Ruppel in 1951.  One of his most known works, Dreams That Money Can Buy was made during this time period.  In 1957, he finished a film entitled Dadascope that contained original and prose and poetry spoken by their creators: Hans Arp, Marcel Duchamp, Raoul Hausmann, Richard Huelsenbeck, and Kurt Schwitters.

Richter's work may be found in the collections of The National Gallery, Berlin; Museum 20 Jahrhunderts, Vienna; Galeria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Rome; Musée National d'Arte Moderne, Paris; and The Museum of Modern Art, New York, among others.

Painter, avant-gardist, film producer and graphic artist died in Minusio, Switzerland on February 1, 1976.

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