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Football Player

Artist/Maker: Duane Hanson (United States, 1925 - 1996)

Date: 1981
Medium: Oil on polyvinyl, football uniform and helmet, bandage, Styrofoam cup and Astroturf
Overall: 43 1/4 x 30 x 31 1/2 in. (109.9 x 76.2 x 80 cm)
Classification: Visual Works
Credit Line: Museum purchase through funds from Friends of Art and public subscription
Object number: 82.0024
DescriptionHanson, the son of a Minnesota dairy farmer, was trained in sculpture at Cranbrook Aacademy in Michigan, He arrived at his now familiar technique of casting in polyester resins reinforced with fiberglass in the mid-1960's. He casts his uncanny, hyperrealist figures from live models, using partial body molds, which he assembles and adjusts until the figure matches his conception. For Football Player, his model was a South Florida sculptor, Robert Thiele, who was also a professional athlete. Creating Football Player, with its meticulous details of skin and hair, took Hanson about five months. But it is not the realistic detail that is most important to him. "To me,” he says, "basically they're sculptures…. I want the whole thing to create a mood that comes through the forms when they're right." In choosing his models, he looks for "types that would be representative of a certain situation in life…. I always like bringing out the weight and the communication of a certain amount of heaviness that I find in our time -- a kind of sadness." Hanson sees himself not as a maker of shockingly realistic effigies but as a keen social observer, a creator of types as telling as those of Balzac, a documenter of his time, "with the warts." (All quotations are from an interview with Duane Hanson, by Paula Harper, Dania, Florida, August 1983.)
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