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Hans Christiansen

Hans Christiansen

*  1866 Flensburg
† 1945 Wiesbaden

Hans Christiansen is regarded as one of the most important representatives of German Art Nouveau. His crafts and graphic works strongly influenced the art scene of that time because his work mirrored like no other the main idea of a totally new style through a synthesis of art and life. After an apprenticeship as a decorator in Flensburg between 1881 and 1885 Christiansen worked for two years at an interior decorator in Hamburg and studied in Munich afterwards. A study trip led him to Italy in 1889, afterwards he accepted a lectureship in Hamburg. Besides he worked as an independent decorator and got involved with a reform on the role-model of the ‚Arts and Crafts'-movement for the ‚Volkskunst-Verein'. In 1893 Christiansen made a trip to Chicago during which he encountered Louis Comfort Tiffany's glass works and was deeply impressed. In 1895 the artist relocated his domicile to Paris, where he studied painting at the Académie Julian between 1896 and 1899. Christiansen's painting style was influenced by the Nabis and especially by representatives of French Art Nouveau. Beside painting Christiansen increasingly attended to designs for crafts. Furthermore he contributed to the journal ‚Jugend' in Munich. He gained publicity with his title page designs and graphic advertisement designs. In 1898 the artist was appointed professor. Christiansen continued his work at the artist's colony in Darmstadt and stayed there until 1902. Since then he often spent the winter months in Paris, where his main focus was on crafts and especially on textile art. From 1914 on Christiansen worked again mainly as a painter and author, from 1918 on he attended increasingly to portraits. Christiansen gained approval as a deco-painter in the 1920s through the decorative charm of his works and through the monotype-technique he had developed. In 1933 a painting ban was imposed on him. His crafts went from designs for wallpaper patterns, tapestries, ceramics to patterns for embroidery. The murals and ceiling paintings with landscapes and floral images as well as the glass windows executed since 1897 were characterised by a shining colourfulness. The influence of Japonism and Mucha's and Toulouse-Lautrec's poster style was also clearly recognisable.