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Duane Hanson's portraits from the heartland
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Duane Hanson, Man on Mower, 1995, bronze, polychromed in oil, with mixed media and accessories. (Photo provided by Plains Art Museum)
Duane Hanson is internationally recognized for his extremely realistic sculptures of people from all walks of life. The Alexandria, Minn. native spent most of his creative years living and working in Florida. He died in 1996. The Plains Art Museum in Fargo, ND, has assembled a retrospective of Hanson's work.

Fargo, ND — Plains Art Museum curator Rusty Freeman says Hanson's work was influenced by his midwestern roots.

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Image Queenie

Duane Hanson was born in Alexandria, Minn., in 1925, and grew up on a dairy farm near Parkers Prairie, Minn.

Freeman says Hanson's farm experiences taught him the value of hard work. Hanson spent much of his career sculpting people who make their living from physical labor. Freeman says knowing where Duane Hanson came from is essential to understanding and interpreting his sculptures.

Hanson created his super realistic sculptures by taking molds of a subject's body. He then cast the body parts with a variety of materials. Early in his career he used autobody filler. As his reputation grew and his finances improved, he used bronze for some later pieces.

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Image Man with camera

Each sculpture took several months to complete, as Hanson painstakingly painted the skin and added body hair.

Duane Hanson died in 1996 and is buried near his birthplace in central Minnesota.

The Plains Art Museum exhibit includes twenty-two sculptures.

After "Portraits from the Heartland" closes on April 11th, the exhibit begins a national tour. Scheduled stops include the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Nebraska; the Art Gallery of Windsor in Ontario, Canada; the Columbus Museum of Art in Columbus, Ohio; and the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida.

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