Diana Hansen Biography

Diana Hansen




Born in 1942 in San Francisco, California, Diana Hansen graduated from the University of California, Berkeley. After graduation she traveled to Europe, first to Paris where she studied with famed printmaker Johnny Friedlaender in his atelier. In 1963 Hansen moved to Rome and has worked in Italy since. She was quoted as saying: "still living and creating in a studio outside Rome overlooking the lake of Albano with private showroom in Frascati (both about 12 miles southeast of Rome)."

Her environment, however, has not influenced her art as much as her involvement with Native American art and culture.  She owns a large library of books on Native American mythology and has written a number of books herself on the American Indian.  Having studied art at an Native American Cultural Center as a child, she feels strongly that "American Indian culture is the only official American culture."

Hansen's richly textured aquatints and mixed technique intaglios are reminiscent of metaphysical Native American sand paintings, and many of her titles refer to Native American rituals and religious ceremonies.  But, like American Native American artists, Hansen is not interested in academic imitations.  She simply allows her images to appear spontaneously from her unconscious.  In this way, the traditional colors and symbols of the Navajo, Pima, Hopi and other Indian tribes become transformed into a contemporary vision that uses the past to illuminate the present.

While Hansen's prints are strongly influenced by Native American motifs, similarities to European artists such as Klee, Miro, and Kandinsky can be seen as well. As a printmaker, Hansen has experimented with a wide range of techniques and processes. Most recently, she developed her own technique of hand-painted relief prints.