Ian Hansen

Fellow of the Royal Art Society

Marine Artist

Oil on Board & Canvas

Born in Bordertown South Australia in 1948, Ian’s childhood years were spent on the foreshore of Hervey Bay. It was here that his deep love of ships and the sea developed. By the age of eight he was actively painting with water colours moving to oils when he was eleven. His first oil survived and hangs in his studio.

Marine artist Ian Hansen has a deep love of the sea and ships. He joined the Royal Australian Navy at fifteen and served for twelve years, including service on HMAS Sydney in 1967-68 during the Vietnam War.

When he joined the Royal Australian Navy he commenced as an apprentice shipwright, reaching the rank of Chief Petty Officer. Ian saw active service in Vietnam 1967-68. Ian painted continually in off duty hours, recording the ships and scenes he observed during his travels.

Proud’s Art Gallery offered him his first one man exhibition in 1974 while he was still in the Navy, the success of this show convinced him to try becoming a full time artist once his service time expired in 1975. 

When he left the Navy, Ian became a successful full time painter and has since had exhibitions in the US, UK and Australia.  After a brief stint of cruising and painting on board a 38 ft yacht, he built a studio overlooking the Whitsunday Islands, this idealistic location was too far from the art world and he returned to Sydney in 1981. Married with three children, Ian lives in Hunters Hill, Sydney, his studio the converted stables in the rear garden.

He regularly sails on his classic 45′ cutter ‘Karalee’, and crews on board the Barque ‘James Craig’ on her extended voyages. These trips reinforce Ian’s deep understanding of the sea, and it is from these trips that he draws his inspiration and great understanding of the sea.  His illustrated log books are always viewed with great interest by visitors to his studio. 

In 2000 Ian was invited by the Royal Australian Navy to go to East Timor and record the Navy’s involvement during the crisis, he spent time on several ships sketching and painting, the resulting paintings now hang in the Navy’s Fleet Headquarters.

Ian exhibits with the Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut USA, the Kendall Gallery on the Isle of Wight, and Morpeth Gallery, Hunter Valley, NSW. In January 2002, he was appointed one of Mystic Museum’s “premier artists” – an appointment only given to twenty artists worldwide.

Recently Ian works mainly on commissioned artworks, such as the Postage stamp of HMVS Cerberus launched by Australia Post in March 2021 to commemorate 150th Anniversary of the vessel’s historic entry to service in Australia in 1871.

Question: Why is there a small F in the lower left hand side of his paintings?

Answer:  His nick name in the Navy was Fritz and his first paintings were sold to the captain of his ship who later asked him to continue to put the F for Fritz into his paintings, so he knew it was him.

‘The Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut USA, hosts ‘The Annual International Art Exhibition’ and since his first acceptance in 1987, Ian has won six major awards, the first in 1961. Ian won three Thomas Well’s Awards, 2004, 2007, 2010 and an Award of Excellence, 2005 & 2012.

He joined Don and Margie McIntyre on a trip to Antarctica in 2002 aboard the Sir Hubert Wilkins on a five week voyage, during which Ian sketched and painted the magnificent scenes of the great southern continent. The Ice Ship ‘Sir Hubert Wilkins’ was the perfect vessel for Ian to spend the five weeks voyage to Antarctica using the time to sketch, draw and paint in water colours the scenes he saw, his illustrated log is kept for future reference.

Ian is a Fellow of The Royal Art Society, a Fellow of The Australian Institute of History and Arts and a Fellow of The Australian Society of Marine Artists. His works hang in Government House Sydney, Sydney Stock Exchange, Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney Heritage Fleet, Royal Australian Navy, Naval Historical Society, Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Lady Denman Museum, AMP building, Qantas House, Huskisson Maritime Museum Jervis Bay and many corporate and private collections throughout the World.

Ian has donated his log books and sketch books from East Timor to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra

For maritime art lovers, owning an Ian Hansen is a very sound investment.

Ian’s Australian art gifts are available exclusively from Morpeth Gallery.