Duane Hanson  

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Duane Hanson (January 17, 1925January 6, 1996) was an American artist based in South Florida, a sculptor known for his lifecast hyperrealist 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 surrealism.

Career and style

Starting in the mid-1980s, Hansons 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 transformed into highly complex works of art—he gave these overlooked, generalized people a singular identity, highlighting their activities and societal roles. 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 ever.


Around 1970 Hanson abandoned such gut-wrenching subjects for more subtle though no less vivid ones. In that year he made the Supermarket Shopper, Hardhat, and Tourists; Woman Eating was completed in 1971. These were also life-sized, clothed, fiberglass figures. Unlike the earlier works, however, these were single or paired figures, not overtly in a violent activity. Furthermore, whereas the earlier works tended to be more contained spatially, the later figures had no boundaries from the viewer. They quite literally inhabited the viewer's space--with amusing results at times, as in the cases of Reading Man (1977) or the Photographer (1978). He sometimes cast his own children in his work, as in Cheerleader (1988), and Surfer (1987). Although detractors may liken his work to figures in a wax museum, the content of his sculptures is more complex and expressive than that normally found in waxworks.

See also

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