February 25, 2013 by smithartonline
Bob Hansen, my mentor from college days, died on the 10th of this month. He one of the teachers I had the privilege to learn from during my days at Occidental College. He was a good friend and a loving teacher: someone I shall miss. Miggie, his wife, was a real fixture at the campus: always welcoming and supportive. I must admit, I think I was a little bit in love with her.
Here is the obituary from Coastal View News up in Santa Barbara –
Robert Hansen, a painter and professor of art at Occidental College for more than 30 years, died Sunday, Feb. 10, at his home in Carpinteria. Born Jan. 1, 1924, in Osceola, Neb., Mr. Hansen was a prolific painter, lithographer and sculptor who taught generations of art students with his exacting standards of perspective and excellence, and was a seminal figure to legions of studio artists, graphic artists, commercial artists, and others who simply wanted to learn how to draw or paint better
During World War II, Mr. Hansen served in the Army as a public relations official in Europe, where he was a member of “The Monuments Men,” helping recover priceless works of art stolen by the Nazis. A graduate of the University of Nebraska (BA, BFA), Mr. Hansen earned his MFA at the Escuela Universitaria de Bellas Artes, San Miguel de Allende in 1949. He studied mural painting with Alfredo Zalce and executed three murals in public buildings in Mexico, while teaching at Bradley University from 1949 to 1955. After a year at the University of Hawaii, he accepted a tenured position on the art faculty at Occidental in 1956 and remained there for the rest of his academic career
During his time at Oxy, Mr. Hansen traveled extensively in Europe, Southeast Asia and India with the help of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Fulbright grant. He exhibited frequently over the years in solo shows in Los Angeles and was featured in-group exhibitions nationally and internationally. His works are held in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art among others, as well as numerous private collections.
Mr. Hansen was profoundly affected by his travels in Mexico and India—and perhaps the fact that his father was a butcher. When he first began exhibiting his work in Los Angeles in the mid-50s, he had already embraced a subject (the human figure) and the technique, Duco lacquer, that would define a movement. Duco was an industrial paint used primarily to coat appliances and cars, and Mr. Hansen would pour the lacquer on pressed wood panels laid flat on the floor. Mr. Hansen painted stylized, fragmented figures, body parts that may have had their origin in his early work as a teenager, helping his father carve steaks and roasts.
He retired from academia in 1987, and stopped painting for a decade to focus on his other passion, the environment. An avid birder, Mr. Hansen spent most of his free time as an advocate for the Carpinteria Creek Commission. In 2011 the Carpinteria City Council voted unanimously to name the city’s creek programs the Bob Hansen Creeks Preservation Program to honor his years of work to preserve the watershed
Mr. Hansen was pre-deceased by Margaret “Miggie” Kuhlman Hansen, his beloved wife of 64 years, and his older son Eric Hansen. He is survived by his son Fritz Hansen, his daughter-in-law, Katherine Hinds, and his only grandchild, Harper Hansen, of Hamden, Conn.; his daughter-in-law Marilynn Hansen of Eagle Rock; and his sister Margaret Hansen of Laguna Woods. He was eased the last few years of his life by the tender ministrations of Connie MacDonald and Ginny, Shawn, Brenda, Terri, Joe and Rosa, his caregivers in Carpinteria.
An update 1 December 2014:
There is a site that gives some details about Bob Hansen’s time working with the Monuments Men during WW2. It may be found at Monuments Men Foundation.