David Hansen (1958–2024)

by Sarah Victoria Turner

  • 21 March 2024

David Hansen wearing a straw hat and glasses in front of a tree in Tokyo We are extremely saddened to hear that the art historian, David Hansen (1958–2024), died unexpectedly in Hobart, Tasmania in January of this year.

David forged many links between Australia and the UK throughout his academic and curatorial research. His work on colonial-era artists, such as John Glover, through to contemporary art practice has left a formidable legacy.

The visual essay by David published in Issue 15 of British Art Studies is indicative of the spirit of intellectual curiosity and experimentation that David practised throughout his career. He was a true boundary crosser and bridge builder, always able to bring together art and ideas in surprising, invigorating combinations.

His visits to the Paul Mellon Centre will always be remembered by staff here with great fondness. As well as plenty of updates from colleagues and institutions in Australia, David would also be ladened with a huge and delicious tart from legendary Soho pâtisserie, Maison Bertaux, as a way of thanking the staff who had helped him with his research enquiries and made him welcome. This culinary gift epitomised David’s generosity and unique style.

He will be sorely missed at the Centre in London and we join his family and colleagues in Australia and across the world in marking his extraordinary contribution to our field.

A celebration of his life and career will be held at the State Library of New South Wales in Sydney, 2–5pm on Saturday 13 April.