Cityscapes: John Hartman

For the current theme of the cityscape, Kim Rempel has suggested that we look at the work of Canadian artist John Hartman (b. 1950-).

John Hartman has been painting aerial views of major cities such as London, New York, Toronto, Montreal and Glasgow since 2003. Rather than zooming in on just one section of a city, he likes to show an entire metropolis and its organic relationship to the surrounding land and bodies of water. He sometimes rents small planes and takes dozens of digital images from up high, but will also find high vantage points to sketch alternate, and less aerial, views. He then imaginatively combines the digital images and his many sketches to create fascinating portraits of complex cities that are pulsing with life.

In a review Hartman's work has been described as "huge, seething reckless action" painting, and I can't help but see similarities in his spontaneous style to the expressive cityscapes of Oskar Kokoschka.

Calgary oil on linen  60"x66" 2004

Manhattan At Night oil on linen 60"x66" 2006

Vancouver oil on linen 66"x172" triptych 2006

New Orleans From Above, Looking South to Venice oil on linen 66"x 93" 2013

Hamilton Harbour From Above oil on linen 60"x66" 2004

Shanghai, Pudong from above the Bund oil on linen 2010
I think people and places create each other. I'm trying to create a sense that these are places that people live, that have stories.- John Hartman


  1. Taryn, isn't he a wonderful painter? I love the images you chose. I am completely enamoured with his colour sense. I can stare and stare at his paintings and there's always some new little patch of colour, side by side, that thrills me.

    1. Oh, I love his work, Kim. I'd love to see a show of his in person- have you?

    2. No, I haven't. But if he's ever showing in a place I can get to, I will definitely be there! I have poured over his book : )


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