The painter Hans Purrmann (1880-1966) ranks among the most important colourists of twentieth- entury art. Drawing on Henri Matisse and the expressionists, he developed a distinct and acclaimed artistic practice over the course of a life lived in places from Munich to Paris to Berlin to Florence to Switzerland.
Part of the secret of Hans Purrmann’s art is that in his work he translated the visible in a very specific and vibrant manner. With irrepressible curiosity, attentiveness and an unerring eye for beauty and the primal and essential, he produced works whose classification as “representational painting” falls short. In fact, his place in art history is one which continues to offer points of departure for modernism [“einen für die Moderne bis heute anschlussfähigen Rang”: in der Kunst ist die Moderne eine abgeschlossene Epoche]: in 1955 Purrmann was included in documenta I in Kassel, and in 1962 he was the subject of a major retrospective at the Haus der Kunst in Munich which was hailed by the press as a sensation. Based on new sources, Christoph Wagner presents the life and work of Hans Purrmann and places the painter as a prominent protagonist within the coordinates of twentieth-century art history.