David Hare - American Abstract Expressionism / Surrealism

‘With David Hare, magic becomes the hereafter of sculpture, it is a manner of suggesting that man is always ahead of himself and that the world is, at the same time, completely given, in the mathematical sense of the world, and completely to be made.’


This is just one line of a lengthy essay Jean-Paul Sartre wrote on an artist who lived and loved in the midst of the formative creative movements of the 20th century. The Shape of Things introduces the painting and sculpture of Hare, an artist who followed a unique artistic career, influenced by, but distinct from, his renowned peers.


David Hare was born into the art world in New York in 1917; his mother was a collector and his parents were acquainted with artists including Constantin Brâncu?i, Walt Kuhn and Marcel Duchamp. Throughout his life he encountered and collaborated with extraordinary figures such as André Breton, Yves Tanguy and Alexander Calder – and with his striking, gaunt features he epitomised the male creative ideal of the era. After an initial foray into experimental photography and running a photography studio, Hare developed an oeuvre in two and three dimensions. The Shape of Things shows a selection of some forty works, on paper, canvas and in sculpture. A subtly playful graphic presentation allows the works to speak on their own terms: formal connections are generated between works across decades and between media. The materials themselves are laid bare, as seen by the photographers. We learn too of subjects and motifs that engaged Hare throughout his life.


Thanks to success during his lifetime, David Hare works are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum, New York, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C. and numerous other esteemed institutions. It is scarcely to be believed that an artist who exhibited multiple times at the Peggy Guggenheim Gallery in New York, at the Hayward in London or, for example, featured in a three-hander show at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston alongside Ed Ruscha and Agnes Martin, is so little known today. This publication returns Hare’s work once more to the public eye. (Aoife Rosenmayer, June 2021).

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