Hans Richter

Born Johannes Siegfried Richter in Berlin, Germany in 1888, Hans Ricter was an avant-garde artist associated with Dada. From 1908-11 he studied at the Academy of Art in Berlin, the Academy of Art in Weimar, and the Académie Julian in Paris. In 1914, Richter joined Die Aktion, an association of Expressionist artists formed around Franz Pfemfert’s journal of the same name. He was inducted into the army in September 1914 but was soon severely wounded and removed from active duty. Before leaving for the war, Richter and two friends Ferdinand Hardekopf and Albert Ehrenstein made a pact to reunite in two years at the Café de la terrasse in Zurich. It was during this reunion that Richter was introduced to members of the Dada group, Tristan Tzara, Marcel Janco, and Georges Janco. Richter became an active member of Dada, and in the spring of 1918, Tzara introduced him to Viking Egging, a Swedish artist. The two co-authored a book on abstract theory in 1920 titled Universelle Sprache (Universal Language). They also produced a new kind of artwork, the abstract film, introducing time to the abstract visual language. Richter was eventually forced to flee before the onset of World War II, moving to the US in 1940. He taught at the Film Institute of City College of New York until he retired in 1962 and returned to Switzerland. He passed away there in 1976.


Hans Richter is featured in Edition: Guest Editor, Stephan Breuer

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