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Armin C. Hansen, N.A. Biography

"Before Hansen, when artists painted Monterey scenes with workers, they most often depicted them in connection with the historic Carmel Mission or quietly performing agricultural chores in peaceful harmony with the land, evincing the lingering influence of the French Barbizon style that Tavernier introduced in the mid-1870s. Such paintings were popular because they were soothing and restful, offering an oasis of tranquility and escape. These evolved into pure landscapes focusing on the beautiful coast, with attention accorded to the wind-sculpted Monterey cypress trees clinging to rocky shores.

Hansen, who saw himself as part of a new generation, painted pure landscapes infrequently and believed the indigenous and emblematic cypress to be overused. When he did depict the cypress or pine, he tended to organize the trees into abstractly patterned groups rather than depict them as single, arboreal curiosities, which by then had become ubiquitous on postcards and paintings made for tourists.”  

Source: Armin Hansen: The Artful Voyage/2015, Scott A. Shields, PhD. Page 24.

Born in San Francisco, CA on Oct. 23, 1886. Hansen received his first art instruction from his father, Herman, the famous painter of the old West and frontier life. The younger Hansen later studied at the Mark Hopkins Institute under Arthur Mathews during 1903-06 followed by two years in Stuttgart, Germany at the Royal Academy under Carlos Grethe.

After visiting the art centers of Paris, Munich, Holland, and Belgium, he signed-on as deckhand to a Norwegian steam trawler, the first of many boats which he would crew during the next four years. Returning to San Francisco in 1912, he taught at UC Berkeley and the CSFA. Settling in Monterey in 1913, he taught private classes and was instrumental in forming the Carmel Art Institute. Hansen had a studio-home at 716 Pacific until building a home next door to artist Julian Greenwell on El Dorado Street. He lived there until his death on April 23, 1957.

His seascapes, coastal scenes, and depictions of the fishing industry of the Monterey Peninsula brought him to the pinnacle of fame in American art. He is quoted, "Every move I have made and everything that I have done, has always been to go back to the sea and to the men who gave it romance. I love them all."

Member: ANA (1926), NA (1948); Carmel AA (pres. 1934-37, 1948); Salmagundi Club; Société Royale des Beaux Arts (Brussels).

Exh: Int'l Expo (Brussels), 1910 (1st prize); Calif. PM, 1910 (gold medal); Helgesen Gallery (SF), 1913, 1916 (solos); PAFA, 1914; PPIE, 1915 (silver medal); SFAA, 1915-25 (silver and gold medals; Oakland Art Gallery, 1917 (solo); Print Rooms (SF), 1920 (solo); NAD, 1920 (prize), 1925 (prize); LACMA, 1923 (prize); Painters of the West (LA), 1924-25 (gold medal); Smithsonian Inst., 1928 (solo); Calif. WC Society, 1930; De Young Museum, 1932 (solo); Grafton Gallery (SF), 1934; Penthouse Gallery (SF), 1934 (solo); Paris, 1938 (gold medal); GGIE, 1939; Chicago Society of Etchers, 1947 (1st prize); CPLH, 1957 (solo); Oakland Museum, 1959 (solo), 1981; Monterey Peninsula Museum, 1986, 1993 (solos).

In: SFMA; De Young Museum; Monterey Peninsula Museum; San Diego Museum; LACMA; Oakland Museum; Library of Congress; Newark Museum; NY Public Library; Cleveland Museum; Harrison Library (Carmel); NAD.

Source: Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940". Art in California (R. L. Bernier, 1916); Plein Air Painters (Ruth Westphal); American Art Annual 1919-33; Who's Who in California 1928; Who's Who in American Art 1936-56; Who's Who on the Pacific Coast 1946; California Art Research, 20 volumes; History & Ideals of American Art (Neuhaus); SF Examiner, 4-25-1957 & NY Times, 4-26-1957 (obits).