Art Hansen, painter and printmaker, passed away peacefully on June 28, 2017, in Seattle. He was 87.
He was born on Vashon, spent most of his early years in Everett, and moved to Seattle to attend Ballard High School where he began his artistic career under the tutelage of Orre Nobles, the renowned art teacher.
Hansen graduated from the University of Washington with a B.A. in 1952, and a M.F.A. from University of Minnesota in 1957.
He received a Fulbright scholarship in 1953 to study at the Munich Academy of the Arts. It was there that he developed the technique of etching for which he is well known, and it was in nearby Nurenburg, that he met his wife, Gerda.
In 1963 he built a house for his family in Lisabuela, using boards from the ramshackle farmhouse that stood on the property, and grew fruit trees and established an extensive garden, filled with vegetables, berries, and flowers – flowers that often appeared in his work over the years. Gerda was always at his side, supporting the work -sewing, canning and cooking – and raising two boys.
While earlier in his career the subject matter of his work often was more abstract and urban in character, whether it was groups of men at the bar, drinking coffee or beer at the counter – most of his later work captured life on rural Vashon – the dilapidated barn, tangled barbwire and everpresent blackberries.
But even as busy as he was attempting to make a living as an artist, he still had time to show his sons how to throw a curveball, or play a game of h-o-r-s-e (which he usually won).
In addition to his financial support of environmental causes, Art supported the
local arts, including the new Vashon Center for the Arts, completed last year.
Art was pre-deceased by his wife Gerda, and is survived by a sister, Karen van Pelt, his sons, Knut and Ben, and five grandchildren.
A celebration will be held at a later date.