Ejnar Hansen was a notable figure painter in Southern California during the years between the wars. He began his career in Copenhagen, where he studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts while supporting himself as a painting contractor. This double career in the commercial and fine arts continued until the 1940s. In Denmark he was a member of the secessionist group De Tretten (The Thirteen), which advocated modernist art. After immigrating to the United States in 1914, he settled in the Midwest, exhibiting and winning awards for his portraits at the annual exhibitions of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1925 he moved to California and the following year settled in Pasadena. In the late 1930s he began supporting himself by teaching, first at Chouinard Art Institute, Los Angeles, then at Pomona College, Claremont, and John Muir College, Los Angeles. He was also active in the California Water Color Society, serving as its vice-president and president in the late 1930s. He received numerous commissions.
Hansen’s art was generally somber, moody, and tending toward the melancholy, which aligns him with Scandinavian artists such as Edvard Munch (1863-1944). Although Hansen’s figure paintings were the most sought after, he also produced still lifes and landscapes. All of his California-period paintings reveal Hansen as a modernist in his manipulation of form, space, and composition, and the figure paintings also demonstrate his mastery of characterization.
Santa Barbara, Calif., Jorgen Hansen Collection, Ejnar Hansen Papers § Arthur Miller, “Ejnar Hansen Interviewed,” American Artist 14 (October 1950): 28-33, 62 § Pasadena (Calif.) Art Museum, Ejnar Hansen: Fifty Years of His Art, exh. cat., 1956, with introduction by Frode N. Dann, chronology, lists of awards, exhibitions, and collections, bibliography § Moure with Smith 1975, p. 109, with bibliography § Santa Barbara, James M. Hansen, Ejnar Hansen, 1884-1965: Retrospective Exhibition, exh. cat., 1984, with introduction by James M. Hansen, lists of awards and exhibitions
- Size (h w d): 28 x 22.5 in