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Duane Hanson (1925 - 1996)



November 9, 2004
New York, NY, US

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Polyvinyl, polychromed in oil and mixed media with accessories

Executed in 1980, this work is unique.






New York, O. K. Harris Works of Art, Duane Hanson, 1980
Frankfurt, Schirn Kunsthalle; Stuttgart, Galerie der Stadt; Milan, Padiglione d'Arte Contemporanea; Rotterdam; Kunsthalle, Edinburgh, National Gallery of Scotland, Duane Hanson: More Than Reality, September 2001 - February 2003, cat. no. 69, p. 111, illustrated in color


Martin H. Bush, Sculptures by Duane Hanson, Wichita, 1985, p.84, illustrated in color
Kirk Varnedoe, Duane Hanson, New York, 1985, pl. no. 47, p. 92, illustrated in color
Exh. Cat., Tübingen, Kunstverein Tübingen [and traveling], Duane Hanson: Skulpturen, 1990, p. 40, illustrated in color


O. K. Harris Works of Art, New York
Shirley and David Levin, Miami (acquired from the above in January 1981)


Executed in 1980 when Hanson had refined his casting technique to perfection and successfully obscured all traces of subtle manipulation from his work, Delivery Man confronts the viewer with its super-realistic atmosphere of physical and psychological presence. Focusing upon the bare fact of human subject, Duane Hanson has consistently purged his work of artistic effects, removing any sign of material manipulation or aesthetic intervention in his presentation of art as a surrogate for reality. "This man is almost in a state of collapse after a hard day's work. He's been rushing all day, delivering packages and boxes. That's the reason for the amusing name of the firm - Rush Delivery. Inc." (Duane Hanson quoted in Exh. Cat., London, The Saatchi Gallery, Duane Hanson, 1997, n/p)

Mesmerising in its proximity to actual life, the highly finished exquisite naturalism of Hanson's work forces us to confront the harsh reality of fact: that the working men and women of Middle America are not just faceless hordes but real people. Exhausted and withdrawn, the lonely Delivery Man sits heavily upon the 'fragile' cases he is bound to deliver, tied to an endless litany of dull, repetitive routine without due reward.

Hanson's highly original contribution to the language of Contemporary art, whether it's the delicacy of his surface realism or the pursuit of a non-art status, has both anticipated and influenced the work of a younger generation of artists, as discussed by Marco Livingstone. "Charles Ray's pseudo-mannequins, Robert Gober's eerily life-like disembodied body parts, the portraits in porcelain by Jeff Koons, the sexualised monsters created by Jake and Dinos Chapman...amongst the most striking of the many examples that could be advanced as arguments for recent simulationist tendencies for art centred on the body. Although [Hanson] seemed to take remarkably little notice of art-world fashions, preferring to focus entirely on the patient realisation of his own project, it must have been both flattering and reassuring for him to witness so many instances of younger sculptors working in a mode so closely related to his own as to approach a form of homage." (Marco Livingstone, 'Life Like Itself', Ibid., n/p)

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Contemporary Art, Evening

November 9, 2004, 12:00 AM EST

New York, NY, US

For Sale from Sotheby's