- Between 1908 and 1911 Johannes Siegfried (Hans) Richter (born 1888) studied art at the Academy of Art in Berlin, the Academy of Art in Weimar, and for a short period in Paris.
By 1913 Richter had joined the mainstream of the expressionist circles and in 1914 he became part of Die Aktion, a group gathered around Franz Pfemfert's journal of the same name. During the World War Richter was severely wounded and removed from active duty. Richter's subsequent involvement in Zurich Dada, heir in many respects to Hans Leybold's Revolution (Hugo Bali and Richard Huelsenbeck, key founding members of Zurich Dada, were initially involved in the group), was crucial. Equally significant were his contact with Theodor Däubler and the political radicalism evidenced by his contact with radical socialist Ludwig Rubiner, and his formulation of the Radical Artists Group, an organization based in Dada's perception of the significance of the Russian Revolution of 1917.
- From 1917 to 1919 Richter was closely involved with Dada events, exhibitions, and publications, showing his paintings with the dadaists for the first time in January at the Galerie Corray. He produced a series of paintings at a pace of three or four a day that he called "visionary portraits." In 1918 Tristan Tzara introduced Richter to Viking Eggeling, a Swedish painter who had developed a systematic theory of abstract art. Richter, who had been experimenting in his Dada heads with opposing black and white, positive and negative, found in Eggeling a friend and fellow theorist of abstraction in film.
- In 1923 Richter began publishing G, a magazine that drew together the work of artists associated with Dada, De Stijl, and constructivism. As a member of the Association of Revolutionary Artists, Richter was forced to leave Germany. He eventually emigrated to the United States, where he taught at the Film Institute of City College in New York. In 1962 he retired and returned to Locarno, Switzerland. Hans Richter died in 1976.
- TEXT CREDIT
More extensive is Amanda L. Hockensmith, 'Hans Richter', in Leah Dickerman (ed.), Dada. Zurich, Berlin, Hannover, Cologne, New York, Paris (National Gallery of Art : Washington DC 2005) 481-482 and online available at Dada biographies: Hans Richter, an exhibition at the National Gallery of Art. The article is translated in French and published in Dada / Catalogue publié sous la direction de Laurent Le Bon ... (Éditions du centre Pompidou : Paris 2005) 124.
- IMAGE CREDITS
banner: Hans Richter in Hoppengarten Military Hospital (detail), 1916 [Collection of Marion von Hofacker]
- portrait: Hans Richter by Man Ray, ca. 1928 [Collection Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris].