Frederick Hans Haagensen was born in Grimsby, Lincolnshire on September 23rd, 1877 to Norwegian parents. His father was a Norwegian ship owner and regularly allowed Haagensen to accompany him on trips between Grimsby and Norway. Haagensen’s affinity with nature and the sea can be traced back to these boyhood memories of roaming the surrounding rural land around the Humber estuary. His artistic training began seriously with tutelage in Florence and was further enhanced by extensive travelling from Scandinavia, Russia and the Baltic to West Africa, Spain and Cuba.
His return to England saw him move to Chelsea where he worked and lived with his wife and child during the twenties and thirties. At this time he predominantly worked in oils, watercolours and charcoals, as well as beginning to produce and explore the medium of etching. Although Haagensen came to etching relatively late in life (he was forty-seven) his devotion to the medium was rewarded with exhibitions in New York, Boston and London. Additionally his etchings were bought by the British Museum and Manchester Art Gallery and also by private collectors. Haagensen was ultimately labelled as a painter-etcher, rewarding his success in this media.
The painter-etcher moved from Chelsea with his family after discovering an Old Dutch styled cottage named the ‘Trusses’ on a cycling holiday in Essex. For the last seven years of his life Haagensen lived in the pretty Essex village of Bradwell-Juxta-Mane until his death on the 14th of May 1943. He is buried at Bradwell’s ancient church, which is on the East-Anglian Coast
- 1926, The Studio, Wellington Street, Chelsea, London [By private invitation];
- 1928-9, The Kew Gallery, America;1929, The Shervee Gallery, Boston, America; Abbey Gallery, London; 14 Great Stanhope Street, London;
- 1972, The Minories, Colchester, Essex; The Galeria, Maldon, Essex;
- 1974, The Little Baddow Hall Arts Centre, Essex;
- 1976, P.S Tattershall Castle Art Gallery, London;
- 1977, Beercroft Gallery, Southend-on-sea, Essex; Loughton House Gallery, London; Olso, Kunstforenning, Norway; Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery, Yorkshire; Grimsby Art Gallery, Lincolnshire
In the Thames River Scene, we again see Haagensen being drawn to the power and beauty of nature. Even within the capitol, with its bustling industrial life and iconic buildings, Haagensen has chosen to ignore these aspects and instead focused upon a stretch of the mighty river at sunset. The deeply alluring orange and yellow hazy sky reflects off the relatively calm river. Restraining this colour is an enclosing nuance of darkness, which not only creeps onto the winding river but also outlines the boating sheds that line the river. Haagensen uses these contrasting colours to create the perspective of a bend in the river, with the orange hue of the sun set extending along the horizon to the right of the composition. This creates a slow and meandering movement to the entire scene, where one can quite easily recall a feeling of satisfaction that derives from stillness after a day of activity.
Haagensen, (LYC Museum Banks, Brampton Cumbria, 1978)
Catalogue: Frederick Hans 1877-1943, (The Butterfly Press, Malden Essex, 1976