Heinrich Hansen (painter)

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Heinrich Hansen; photograph by Budtz Müller og Co. [da]; Bredgade 21 (1880)

Heinrich Hansen (23 November 1821, Haderslev – 10 July 1890, Frederiksberg) was a Danish architectural painter and State Councillor. His son, Adolf Heinrich-Hansen, was also an architectural painter.


His father was a cloth dyer who originally came from Flensborg. After some time as a journeyman painter, he went to Copenhagen in 1842 to enroll at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts with the intention of becoming a decorative painter. Before the year was out, he had begun assisting with the decorations at the Thorvaldsen Museum.[1] He also attended the modeling classes and won a silver medal in 1846 for his live model painting. The following year, together with Wilhelm Marstrand, he helped create decorations for the burial chapel of King Christian IV at Roskilde.[2]

Hansen in 1883

In 1847, he was awarded money from the Reiersenske Fund [da], which provides grants to artists and craftsmen. This enabled him to study in Germany. During his time there, he decided to be an architectural painter; the first in Denmark.[3] In 1848, he held his first exhibition (primarily watercolors), then had an exhibit of oil paintings in 1849. It was well-received and his travel support was extended so he was able to visit most of Western Europe, including Italy.[3] One of the paintings that resulted from this trip, a view of the Church of Our Blessed Lady of the Sablon, was purchased for the Royal Collection.

Upon returning, he was a teaching assistant for perspective and ornamentation at the Academy for many years, until the death of Gustav Friedrich Hetsch in 1864, when he was promoted to succeed him as a professor of perspective; a position he held for the rest of his life, serving several terms as the Academy's Vice-President.[3] He also was a member of the selection committee for the Charlottenborg Spring Exhibition.[1]

He was appointed Knight of the Order of the Dannebrog in 1859 and a State Councillor [da] (a largely honorary title with a few privileges) in 1871. Over the years, he worked on restoration projects at Rosenborg, Kronborg and Frederiksborg castles, the last of which suffered a major fire in 1859.[3] He also designed furniture, silverware and porcelain, coordinating design at Bing & Grøndahl's porcelain factory for a period of 22 years.[2] In 1877, together with his wife, Margrethe, he created the "State Councilor H. Hansen and Wife Silver Anniversary Scholarship".

He went through an extended period of illness and apparently recovered for a time, but had a sudden relapse and died the next day.



  1. ^ a b Brief biography @ Gravsted.
  2. ^ a b Biographical notes @ Den Store Danske.
  3. ^ a b c d Biographical notes @ Kunstindeks Danmark.

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