Theodore Hanau (French-American, 1899-1966)
( b. Paris, June 2, 1899-d. New York City, Nov. 17, 1966)
Pueblo Indian Group, New Mexico 1928
Oil on canvas
26 x 32 inches
Signed Jean Hanau & dated 1928 New Mexico, at lower left
Bernheim Gallery, Paris, 1929
Art Market (misidentified as "Kanau")
Private Collection (misidentified)
Fred R. Kline Gallery (here discovered as by Hanau, with new research added)
Bernheim Gallery, Paris, 1929
Fred R. Kline Gallery, Santa Fe. "Jean Hanau: A French Artist in New Mexico, 1928". Summer 2000.
Publication (see below)
"Jean Theodore Hanau New Perspective On A Neglected Artist",
copyright 2000 Fred R. Kline: www.klinegallery.com
"Jean Theodore Hanau:
New Perspective On A Neglected Artist"
copyright 2000 Fred R. Kline
A French born American artist, Jean Hanau was known for his Art Deco style in oil paintings and sculpture and in the decorative arts, which included architectural commissions in New York City from the 1940s, among them wall reliefs and murals and gold leaf designs on mirrors. Hanau taught for periods from the 1940s at the Art Students League and was a member of noted New York City group of deaf people called “The Merry-Go-Rounders”. In 1942, he became an American citizen and lived his last 25 years as an active artist in New York City near Greenwich Village. Personal accounts treat Jean Hanau fondly and have characterized him as “a tiny likable man with exotic tastes who wore a beret and rimless glasses and was popular with the children of his friends.”
During his formative years, Hanau studied and worked in France and elsewhere in Europe. From an early age in Paris, Jean Hanau was singled out as an artist of talent. At the age of 13, he exhibited for the first time at the 1913 Salon of Independents. Continuing into his teens and early twenties, he exhibited at the Salon of the Tuileries and at the important Salon D’Automne in the company of Matisse, Rouault, Marquet, and Bonnard. Hanau was clearly influenced by (and possibly exhibited in) the legendary 1925 Paris International Exposition of Art Deco, which announced this style to the world.
In 1928-29, Hanau traveled to New Mexico and painted his now famous series of paintings of the Pueblo Indians in the Art Deco style. He also painted New Mexico landscapes, these in a more expressionistic style. In 1929, to much acclaim, he exhibited his New Mexico paintings at the Bernheim Gallery in Paris. This exhibition was influential in establishing the milieu of the American Indian as an important matrix from which the Art Deco movement evolved in both design and subject matter. Hanau’s paintings of American Indians, in particular, have a notable place in the evolution of 20th century Modernism which emanated from France.
Hanau exhibited during the 1920s and 1930s at various galleries in Paris, including: Devambez, Drouant, and Simonson. His wide range of subject matter in paintings included figurative, genre, landscape, portraiture, and still life. He participated in important exhibitions in various places where he settled for periods of time, among them: “French Artists in Brussels” and “The Artistic Circle of Barcelona”.
Hanau’s teachers, at different periods, were the painter Fernand Cormon at the Beaux-Arts and the sculptor Filippo Colarossi at his famous Studio in Paris and Rome. Hanau’s artistic circle included Louis-Francois Biloul (1874-1947), Bernard Naudin (1876-1940), Charles Guerin (1875-1939), and C.A. Picart Le Doux (1881-1959).
Jean Hanau’s paintings are rarely available and likely remain in private and public collections in France and the United States. None are known to be in museum collections in the United States.
Edouard-Joseph Rene. Dictionnaire Biographique des Artistes Contemporains 1910-34. Paris, 1934 (3 vols.)
E. Benezit. Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, etc. Librairie Grund, 1966.
Personal correspondence: friends of Hanau with Fred R. Kline
Sold to a distingished private collection