Two early sculptures by Duane Hanson (American, 1925-1996), together with an archive of related letters and photographs. All were given by Hanson to a former student who remained a lifelong friend. 1st item: "Man on a Flagpole," depicting a man, crosslegged male figure seated atop the finial of a blue flag pole. Figure – 16 1/2" H. Overall – 111 3/8" H. 2nd item: Porous terra-cotta colored ceramic sculpture of a female, seated with elbow on one knee and hand just below the other. 7" H. Archive contains nine photographs, including two of "Flagpole" with Hanson's handwriting, both verifying "I did this work around 1962 or before. -Duane Hanson March 1985 Davie FL" and one of the small figure, stating "I did this lousy work in the 1950s in Germany (I believe) – Duane Hanson Davie FL March 29, 1985." The other photos include four from an exhibit in Feb. 1978 in which the sculptor is seen posing with his work, and two dated April 1964 showing the artist in a doorway and one also picturing one of his more abstract sculptures (likely taken at Oglethorpe University, Atlanta). The archive also includes three postcards and four personal letters, 1969-1979, with mentions of growing success and Hanson's thoughts on art. Letter dated Feb. 24, 1969 mentions "Castell Gallery – New York's leading avant garde gallery wants to show my work next fall. Also will be in the big Whitney show next Nov. Ivan Karp at Castell Gallery will find me a studio so we will move to New York in August after a trip to Europe.." One letter dated March 29, 1985, (which enclosed the sculptures of these 2 pieces) notes that "we will not talk about these old sculptures but I am returning the photos… I'm doing a lot of bronzes now so I'm still branches (sic) out. There is so much I want to do so hope I will live long enough to get them completed… I showed in Japan – 250,000 visited the exhibit." Another, dated January 9, 1979, reads "…there's nothing much to be gained from the Europeans anymore. London has a dull art scene and the rest of Europe isn't much better. There is nothing like the home-land for inspiration, inventiveness, and exciting new works, especially New York." Duane Hanson is best known for his ultra realistic sculptures that comment on contemporary life. These two sculptures are among the few surviving examples of his early work, showing the influence of Abstract Expressionism. Hanson was born in Minnesota. He received his BA from Macalester College in 1946 and his MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan in 1951. While at college, Hanson was introduced to the dominant artistic trends of the period, which were shifting away from Naturalism toward Abstraction. From 1962-1965, Hanson was an art professor at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta. While in Atlanta, he was commissioned to produce several large decorative sculptures for the exterior of buildings, including the Stormy Petrel at the Dorough Field House of Oglethorpe University. It was during his time at Oglethorpe that Hanson met the student to whom these sculptures were given; it was also during this time that he received a grant from the Ella Lyman Cabot Trust to develop his work with life-sized polyester resin and fiberglass sculpture. This work coincided with the Pop Art movement, and Hanson's lifelike sculptures of people engaged in everyday activities drew national and eventually international acclaim. From 1976-78, a major retrospective of his sculptures went on an extended museum tour throughout the United States. One solo exhibition in particular, at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City (1978), set all-time attendance records and was influential in establishing Hanson as one of the leading sculptors of the late twentieth century. He settled in Florida, where he lived the remainder of his life. Hanson was named Florida Ambassador of the Arts in 1983. (Biographical information from 1998 Hanson exhibit catalog introduction by James A. Findlay, Librarian, Bienes Center for the Literary Arts). Provenance: Private Collection of a Retired Sculptor and Art Patron, Middle Tennessee. Alternate spelling: Duane Hansen. CONDITION: 1st item: Flagpole sculpture has chip to forehead, breaks/chips to extremity of toes, and a few abrasions to knees. 2nd item: Clean repaired break to head and wrist. Archive materials lightly toned; letters retain original envelopes.
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