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David Hare was born on March 10, 1917, in New York. From 1936 to 1937 he studied biology and chemistry at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. In the late 1930s he began to experiment with color photography, which the Walker Galleries in New York exhibited in 1939. Hare opened a commercial photography studio in New York in 1940, and in the same year the Julien Levy Gallery, New York, gave him a solo exhibition. During the early 1940s Hare came into contact with a number of the surrealist emigrés in New York, and in 1942 he started to make sculpture. From 1942 to 1944 Hare founded and edited the surrealist magazine VVV with André Breton, Marcel Duchamp, and Max Ernst.
Peggy Guggenheim presented solo shows of Hare’s work in her Art of This Century gallery from 1944 to 1947. In 1948 he was a founding member, together with William Baziotes, Robert Motherwell, and Mark Rothko, of The Subjects of the Artist school in New York and he became friendly with Jean-Paul Sartre. This same year he moved to Paris, where he met Balthus, Victor Brauner, Alberto Giacometti, and Pablo Picasso. He returned to New York in 1953 but spent the next two summers in Paris. Hare was included in the São Paulo Bienal of 1951 and 1957, and in 1958 he received a sculpture commission for the Uris building at 750 Third Avenue, New York. Hare began to concentrate on painting in the 1960s.
From the mid-1960s into the 1970s Hare held teaching positions at the Philadelphia College of Art, the University of Oregon, Eugene, and the Tamarind Institute at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. He was included in the Dada, Surrealism, and Their Heritage exhibition of 1968 at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The following year he received an honorary doctorate from the Maryland Institute of Art, Baltimore. In the late 1960s the artist began his Cronus series of drawings, collages, paintings, and sculpture, which was the subject of a solo exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1977. In the same year he was included in Dada and Surrealism Revisited at the Hayward Gallery, London, and in 1978 he showed in American Painting of the 1970s at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo. Hare died on December 21, 1992, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.