Hans Nicolaj Hansen Biography

Hans Nicolaj Hansen





Hans Nicolaj Hansen was born in Copenhagen, Denmark on May 15, 1853, the son of wine merchant C.J.A. Hansen and Sophie Andrup Hansen. After graduating in 1872 from the Borgerdyd Skolen Christianshavn he went on to attend the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, from which he graduated in 1877. The following year he exhibited his first historical picture “Outside Sigbrit Port”. Later that year he went to Paris and trained further under painter Léon Bonnat. He married Ida Theodora Frederikke Rasmussen in the fall of 1883. After a long stay in Rome he returned to Copenhagen where he painted the skilled portrait of his wife (1886), then the sick at St. Helenæ Tomb (1887) for which he became noted, as well as numerous other paintings.

The Hansens built a summer residence and studio in Ørnebjerg” in Rebild Bakker. In 1902. Thier son, Bernt Hjelje, took the name in 1902 and the descendants – including Danish actress Iben Hjejle – have had this surname since. After a divorce around 1908, Hans married Ella Ruben daughter of Bernhard Ruben and Ida Susanne Ruben. They moved to the country house Christinelund in Præstø. One of Hans' most famous works is the reworking of the painting from 1921, ”Christian X Riding Across the Frontier”, which hangs at the Museum of National History at Frederiksborg Castle.

Hansen was a member of the Academy Plenary, 1910 (Årsmedaljerne 1903 and 1910 for his etchings) and of The Academy in 1915. In 1909 he was elected chairman of the Graphic Artists Society. In 1916 he became a Knight of the Dannebrog. Hans Nicolaj Hansen’s greatest reputation was as an illustrator and etcher. His etchings are characterized by originality and ingenuity; he used a lot of historical sense, not without humor, and manages - often surprisingly - to depict historic character and spirit.

Hans Nicolaj Hansen died on March 14, 1923 at Frederiksberg, Denmark.