A Memorial for Robert Hansen


April 4, 2013 by smithartonline

Hansen Memorial 2013

The memorial and art exhibit for Bob Hansen took place on the 29th at Occidental College. There were plenty of stories to share and a few tears were shed: all in all a good send-off. We were surrounded by art and, if you have the opportunity to drop by Oxy before the 21st of April, you may also enjoy a little piece of Bob Hansen’s artistic vision.

Interestingly, Bob was something of a campus radical in his early years…rather a surprise to me in that he seemed the staid and formal professor of art. Apparently in the 1950’s, he and Cliff Kroeber of the History Department went to Mexico and returned with, of all things, beards. This was definitely not in keeping with the grooming standards of the college, but they stood their ground and the beards stayed. Obviously this was the opening of the floodgates of the 60s radicalism. (By the way, he would never tolerate being called “professor” by anyone. He considered it ostentatious)

In attendance were a few of us students from the 60s to 70s, and a goodly number of professors who taught us during those years. Of particular note was Ernest Rosenthal who is the last of our art teachers left. He taught us printing arts and was well revered, as was Bob. Now Mr. Rosenthal is a writer of verse.

Miggie 1950

A rather nice portrait Bob painted of Miggie in 1950. I am glad her presence was at the exhibition through this work.

Hansen 1950

I hope that when the reaper knocks on my door, there are people left who will also be able to share a few good stories, be surrounded by art and will lift the parting glass to me.

Sleep well my friend.

5 thoughts on “A Memorial for Robert Hansen

  1. dlsmith671 says:

    Tried to post that I’d be pleased to raise a glass and tell colorful tales, but I’m confident that you’ll outlive us all! (I need a WordPress password, I guess)

    On Thu, Apr 4, 2013 at 9:32 PM, smithartonline

  2. Fritz Hansen says:

    Dear S.A.
    Thanks for posting this and for including the photo of the portrait of my mother. She would have loved being at the event. It was a great day, and I was rather blown away by the emotion that came from some of my father’s colleagues. I think one reason my father did not achieve the success that some of the artists he was showing with in LA in the ’60s was because he didn’t have a lot of influence on the art world, but clearly he had an effect on many who knew him at Oxy.

    Fritz Hansen

    • It was an honor to know both of your parents, Fritz. I am who I am due to the people I have encountered through my life, and know that your parents were definitely great and positive influences upon me then and now.

  3. Tony Oliveri says:

    My late wife was a student at Oxy in the 60’s and had Bob Hansen for a teacher. I have a watercolor of his that was purchased at an Oxy art show I believe. Now with the need to downsize I would like to find someone who might be interested in this work.

    • Jeremy Petty says:

      Hi Tony,

      I might be interested in buying your piece. I love his work and exhibited it at my gallery a few years back. I still buy it whenever I can. I buy a lot more than I sell! I loved a lot of the work on view at the memorial service (what a surprise) and although I only got to know Bob later in life, he left a profound influence on me. If anyone else has works by Bob they are interested in selling, please contact me:




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