Duane Hanson (January 17, 1925–January 6, 1996) was an American artist based in South Florida, a sculptor known for his lifecast realistic works of people, cast in various materials, including polyester resin, fiberglass, Bondo and bronze. His work is often associated with the Pop Art movement, as well as hyperrealism.
Hanson grew up in Parkers Prairie, Minnesota
. He received his Bachelor of Arts
from Macalester College
in 1946 and his MFA
from the Cranbrook Academy of Art
in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
in 1951. From 1953 to 1960, he taught art in Munich
. And from 1962 to 1965 he was a professor of art at Oglethorpe University
in Atlanta, Georgia
Career and style
Starting in the mid-1980s, Hanson's works were cast in bronze
. His works are exact down to every detail; made via lifecasting
, the pieces created from epoxy resin or bronze, and the whole sculpture painted to faithfully resemble a living person. This combined with hand-picked wigs, clothing and accessories means that Hanson's works are perfect simulacra
, often fooling gallery visitors with their ordinary appearance and casual stances.
Hanson chose to sculpt working-class citizens, unremarkable people going about their business. In transforming them into highly complex works of art, he highlighted the activities and societal roles of everyday people. Duane Hanson and John DeAndrea are the two sculptors most associated with photorealism. Both are famous for amazingly lifelike painted sculptures of average people, complete with hair and real clothes. They were called Verists. Today the Australian artist Ron Mueck's work relates to Hanson and DeAndrea. Hanson is recognised as one of the most accomplished hyper-real sculptors.
Hanson’s work is represented in most major modern collections. His work has been shown internationally in many important exhibitions, including two solo retrospectives at New York City's Whitney Museum
in 1978 and 1998, Five Artists and the Figure
at the Whitney, a solo show at London's Saatchi Gallery
, the 1995 Monte Carlo Sculpture Biennale
, and Pop Art: 1955–1970
at the Art Gallery of New South Wales