MASTER LITHOGRAPHER //
COLUMN OF WISHFUL THINKING 1982
REGIMENTED RECTANGLES 1950
SUMPTOUS AMISH MODERN 1962
SGT. Robert William Hansen (1924-2013)
Robert William Hansen was born in Osceola, Nebraska in 1924. He served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1945. In December 1945 he was transferred to Munich and assigned to the Regierungsbezirk Oberbayern Section of the Office of Military Government for Bavaria under the direction of Monuments Man Capt. Jonathan T. Morey. Stationed in Munich, Hansen worked as part of the motor pool delivering works of art found in the field to various collecting points. He was involved in the transport of the collection of Martin Bormann found at Berchtesgaden, a collection of Russian icons looted by the Schwarzhuber brothers, and multiple truckloads of works of art and other cultural objects belonging to the Russian state museums from Schloss Höchstädt. Hansen was redeployed in February 1946.
Following his return home to the United States, Hansen received two Bachelor’s degrees from the University of Nebraska. He earned a Maestro de Bellas Artes (M.F.A.) from the Escuela de Bellas Artes in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico in 1949, and later returned to Mexico in 1953 to study at the University de Michoacan in Morelia. There, he studied mural painting under well-known Mexican muralist Alfredo Zalce, and was soon commissioned to paint three murals of his own in public buildings in Mexico. Hansen taught briefly at Bradley University and the University of Hawaii before beginning a long career as a professor at Occidental College in 1955, which culminated in his retirement as Professor Emeritus in 1987. During his tenure as professor, Hansen travelled widely, including a period from 1961 to 1962 when he studied art in India and Southeast Asia as both a Guggenheim fellow and a Fulbright fellow.
Hansen was also a successful painter, lithographer, and sculptor. His work was featured in numerous one-man shows in prominent galleries and universities across the country, as well as group shows at the Museum of Modern Art (1961) and The New Vein Show (1969-71). Today, his work is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego.
WORM 1963 46" X 49"
In 1948, Hansen traveled to Mexico, where he attended a lecture given by noted muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros (Mexican, 1896–1974). Siqueiros was using a new medium, called Duco, which was a shiny lacquer designed for use on appliances and automobiles. Hansen was intrigued and began using the glossy lacquer when he returned to the United States. He applied the same pouring technique and created human-like forms. Worm is a typical example of his work. The painting features a figure perched atop a winding snakelike shape. The piece was created with Duco lacquer poured onto Masonite.
Hansen often worked with thick, industrial paint and lacquer. He painted on wood panels that were laid on the floor. In the beginning of his career, he started by covering the surface in black paint. Once dry, Hansen would pour the thickened industrial paint onto the panel and let it run slowly. Sometimes he would use a brush to move the paint, and other times he would allow it to run. This created the raised shapes with hard edges that became one of his signatures. Hansen primarily worked in a black-and-white color palette but added reds and warmer tones later in his career.
DETRITUS 4 1986
FIRESTORM 5 1985
Erica x Sonar