Duncan Hannah, a Minneapolis-born Anglophile, summons the spirit of a British esthetic throughout his oeuvre. His recurring subjects, drawn from early to mid-century cinema and literature, include vintage sports cars tooling around the English countryside, the reclusive British film star Nova Pilbeam, and his invented group of adventure-book heroes, the Shipwreck Boys.
Hannah is a New York-based figurative painter who has had 50 solo exhibitions in the United States and England since his debut in 1981. He attended Bard College in the early 1970s when the art world was dictated by mass culture and conceptualism, whereas his work was a harkening back to an idealistic era where simplicity and romanticism reigned.
Hannah’s paintings offer the viewer quick snapshots of a forgotten past and serve as a meditation of a more fanciful time. In referring to his Penguin Book paperback collection, he comments “I found myself staring at how beautiful they are—it’s the best graphic design I’ve ever seen—and thinking, I wish I could do something with this.” In essence, the artist incorporates elements of Pop and Minimalism while creating narratives and nostalgic scenes that predate those movements. What ultimately makes the artist’s work appealing is the fact that it is an extension of his identity.
“The roots of my work stem from the romantic imagination of my youth. I made pictures to explore the people and places I was moved by in books and films. As I grew older and studied the history of painting and its practice, I realized that these desires could provide a framework for a lifetime of painterly investigations. Although each painting is a self-sufficient entity, together they seem to make up a fictional world that resonates with me.” - Duncan Hannah, American b. 1952
Duncan Hannah is a New York-based figurative painter who has had 50 solo exhibition in the United States and England since his debut in 1981.
Hannah's paintings are represented in collections both nationally and internationally, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Chicago Art Institute, and Mick Jagger's private collection, to name a few. He is the recipient of the 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship.