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The Collector's Gallery - Fine Canadian Art

 
Hans Nissen
HANS OTTO NISSEN(1921 Ė 2008)

Hans Otto Nissen was born May 24, 1921 in Vejle, Denmark and lived in Horsens, Denmark until his mid-twenties.

Hans started drawing and painting at the age of seven, when he was introduced to drawing by a commercial artist who did advertising catalogues for his motherís millinery shop.After that, his spending money and spare time went into art supplies and art training. He said that this man, his first art instructor, had given him some advice that he had used throughout his art career: draw the sky first and always use the whole page Ė even if the space looks empty or unused it is part of the overall design.

Hans studied architecture in the Bauhaus style and, following registration as an architect, began his career working with Ove Boldt, a well-known contemporary architect in Horsens, Denmark.

Hans married Inger Jensen on February 4, 1947 and, shortly afterwards, they moved to Copenhagen where Hans worked in the architectís office of the City of Copenhagen.

In 1952, Hans, Inger and three children immigrated to Canada.Before making their home in Calgary in 1959, the family resided in Edmonton, Alberta and Aurora, Ontario.

In Canada, Hans worked as an architectural design draftsman for Parkin and Associates in Toronto and, in Calgary, primarily with Stevenson and Associates.Two major projects he collaborated on in Calgary were Mount Royal College and the Calgary International Airport.

Hans did not seriously pursue his artwork in Canada until the late 1950ís early 1960ís Ė when he devoted as much time as he had when not working or spending time with his family that had grown to seven children. His sketch pad, journal and paint box came along on all family vacations and outings.

At that time Hansí medium was watercolour, pencil drawing and oil painting. He was involved with an art group in Calgary in the 1960ís and showed some of his work at the Allied Art Centre in Calgary, including a Regional Art Exhibition that ran January 12 to February 18, 1960. Some of his watercolours from this period were sold privately. The subject matter of the watercolours and oil paintings include landscapes, still life, and portraits.
From the late 1960ís to the early 1980ís, his primary focus was landscapes painted in oil and acrylic. One of Hansí passions was the natural environment of south-western Alberta and the interior of British Columbia. Before and after he retired at the age of 56, he painted landscapes on location travelling to the site in a Volkswagen camper that was outfitted as a mobile art studio and then hiking, skiing, or canoeing into the area where he painted. He had frequent encounters with wildlife while painting including bears and a bobcat.

Hansí landscape paintings were sold at a private showing in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1982 and shown in Gallery One in Saskatoon for a couple of years following the private showing.

In the mid to late 1970ís, Hans studied life drawing at the Alberta College of Art and Design and pursued life drawing more seriously.

In the 1980ís and 1990ís Hans moved into painting city scenes from photographs taken in Calgary, Vancouver and destinations he visited in the United States. He also did a series of city scenes based on a special report on Calgaryís nightlife that ran in the Calgary Herald.

For the most part, Hans worked independently but he was very aware of the local art scene and studied contemporary artworks.

Hansí wife Inger was an integral support to his art career. She believed in him and provided powerful encouragement that helped him to keep pursuing his artwork. Inger also took on a major role in raising their seven children and assisted financially by working outside the home so that Hans would have more time available for his artwork.

Hans and Inger Nissen lived in Bankview for close to 45 years owning and restoring two century homes in that neighbourhood. Both homes were re-modelled to add an art studio.

Hans passed away in Calgary on March 4, 2008.