The Wings have Landed
As noted earlier ,
Oskar J. W. Hansen (1892-1971)
was one of the club's
most distinguished sculptors.
But whatever happened to "Wings" ? (the piece shown above)
One copy is still on display
in the historic Rand Tower (Minneapolis)
But now we've learned
that another copy was cast,
installed in a Virginia airport,
and finally rescued by
its current owner who
has sent us the following message:
I came across your blog "The Old Palette" and read with great interest the entries about Oskar Hansen and your "obsession" with his works. I too, share an interest in his works and have over the years attempted to collect as much information as possible on his sculptures. I am especially interested in his Art Deco period and the major works that he completed during the years leading up and in the years after the works he did for the Hoover Dam. As you may be aware, there is precious little information on his other works (if any) that he did other then the ones that you covered in your blogs. I find it odd that there seem to be few works in museum or private collections and, as such, there is no record of any items changing hands other then some small items, such as his later pieces done for Virginia Metalcrafters. I am perplexed by the fact that such a talented sculptor who studied under such great masters created so few works. Even more perplexing is that the few works he did complete were of such a grand scale and for public display. Maybe you can help shed some light on this fact - or maybe I'm just missing knowledge of a vast body of his work. Thanks to your blog, I have come been made aware of the busts that were individually commissioned. Even with that, it seems that he either made relatively small or large pieces.
I have been frustrated by the fact that, in my opinion, a relatively important 20th century artist is so unrecognized and under appreciated in the fine art circles. As a fellow connoisseur of his works, I wanted to share with you some information that you may or may not know regarding one of the works you have pictured in your first blog. Have you ever wondered why the photograph of the sculpture "Wings" taken with Mr. Hansen that you have at the top of the page is silver and that the one in the Rand building is currently in natural bronze. True the silver coating that was originally on the the Rand "Wings" was probably removed as it was fragile paint and must have been damaged in such a public setting. However, I can assure you that the sculpture with the artist in the photograph taken from Beyond the Cherubim is still silver. This is due to the fact that there were two "Wings" statues cast. One was cast (as commissioned) for the Rand building and a second one was cast for Mr. Hansen himself. He must have loved the statue so much that he wanted one for himself. Further evidence of this is the fact that he kept his "Wings" with him in his studio in Charlottesville, VA until his death (a fact not even knownn by the current owners of the Rand "Wings"). You may wonder how I know these facts. It is due to the fact, that Hansen's "Wings" currently resides in my home.
After Mr. Hansen's death, the executors of his estate loaned "Wings" to Richmond's Byrd Airport. It resided there as a centerpiece until such time as the bank, which had lent the funds to transport and install it, called the loan. At that time, neither the airport nor Mr. Hansen's estate had the funds to pay off the note and the bank threatened to repossess it. Long story short, I paid off the loan, acquired "Wings", and agreed to keep it in its location. That was until the airport was rebuilt and they were no longer interested in appropriately displaying it. At that point I had the piece moved to my home. Attached is a recent photograph of Hansen's "Wings".
I hope as a fellow enthusiast that you find this information informative and that it will add to your sphere of knowledge on Oskar Hansen and his body of work. As, as far as I can tell, you have the most complete photographic catalog of his works. The only other work of which I am aware (although never seen) is a monument to Columbus in Rio de Janeiro. Additionally, should you have any information on any works that may be in a museum or private collection, I would be interested in knowing.
And I think it looks better in silver,
the same color as an airplane