Craig Hanna

Craig HANNA Was Born In 1967 In Cleveland, Ohio (United States). A New York Painter By Training, He Studied At Fine Arts Syracuse University, Then At The Fine Arts School Of Visual Arts, Before Specializing At The New-York Academy Of Figurative Art.

Craig HANNA Exhibited For The First Time In 1998 At Bergdorf Goodman In New York, Where An Entire Floor Is Reserved For Him. 

Craig Hanna Painting

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Craig Hanna Painting

He Then Exhibited In London, Hong Kong And Malta Where He Lived For A Time. Selected In 2001 And 2006 For The BP Portrait Award From The National Portrait Gallery In London, He Was Awarded In 2001 For His Work Carlos Sitting On A Clear Plastic Chair. Craig HANNA Now Lives In Paris, Where He Is Permanently Represented And Exclusively By The Laurence Esnol Gallery.

Craig Hanna Draws And Paints As If The Photograph’s Overburdening Dominance Of Our Visual Data Field Didn’t Matter, Or Didn’t Exist. He Has No Truck With The De-Skilled Aesthetics Of, Say, Elizabeth Peyton Or Karen Kilimnick, Nor The Banal, Flattened, Deadpan Conventions Of Photo-Based Figurative Painters Like Gerhard Richter, Peter Doig Or Luc Tuymans.

In Less Astute Hands, The Resulting Work Would Be Yet More Empty, Tired, Retrograde Classicism, A Hodgepodge Of ‘Good’ Draftsmanship, Mannered Techniques And Familiar Quotations Drawn From A Potted History Of Figurative Representation.

Yet, While Antecedents Are Visible In Hanna’s Pictures, In Both Their Contents And Surfaces — Courbet, Whistler, Sargent, Schiele, Klimt, Bacon And Freud Come To Mind — Hanna Pushes Past These To Create Vital Works That Are Brashly Contemporary And Unmistakably His Own.

He Does So By Eschewing, Even Sabotaging, The Strategies Of Most Contemporary Figurative Painting: He Chooses His Subjects From ‘Life’ Instead Of Photographs; He Roots His Formal Concerns — Line, Color, Brushstroke, Scale — In Painterly Traditions; And, Borrowing A Forgotten Form Of Outsider ‘Folk’ Art — Verre Églomisé In French, Hinterglasmalerei In German, “Reverse-Painting” In English — He Inverts The Usual Process Of Painting By Doing It Backwards, On Plexiglass. Details First: Finishing Colors, Shadows On Skin, The Flecks Of Light In The Eyes. Then The Broader Background Forms. This Turning-Inside-Out Reintroduces Chance And Risk To The Painting.

The Final, Visible Surfaces Are Planned, Not Blindly Occurring, But Nevertheless Disruptive And Surprising. At The Same Time, The Outsider Technique Pits The Painting In Direct Confrontation With The Photograph: The Image, Sealed And Smoothed—As Smooth And Sleek As A Photograph— Is Doubly Captured, Under Glass And In The Roiling, Seething Fury Of Brushed Paint. Painterly, Yes, But, Transgressing Into The Indexical Properties Of The Photographic Image, And As Luminous As A Jeff Wall Light Box. Hanna Manages Something Quite Extraordinary Here: He Reaffirms The Ephemeral, The Fugitive And The Contingent Qualities Of Figurative Painting By De-Familiarizing And Destabilizing It, Thus Reasserting, Once More, Its Currency At The Very Core Of Contemporary Art.

Art Critic

  • 1967:  H. Craig HANNA Is Born On July 29 In Cleveland, Ohio (United States).
  • 1991-94:  Moved To New York, Studied At Syracuse University Where He Obtained A Bachelor Of Fine Arts.
  • 1994-96:  Studied At The School Of Visual Arts Where He Obtained A Master Of Fine Arts. Begins To Paint In Oils, Develops A Strong Taste For Figurative Painting. Many Visits To The Metropolitan Museum Of Art Where He Sharpens His Gaze In Contact With Rembrandt, Vélasquez, Sargent And Ingres.
  • 1997:  Becomes Assistant To Painter Ross Bleckner Then To Painter David Salle.
  • 1998:  Graduated From The New York Academy Of Figurative Art. During A Photo Shoot For Bergdorf Goodman Where He Participated As A Model, His Drawings Were Noticed By An Executive In The Store. Exhibits His Works In The Windows Of Bergdorf Goodman, Which Gives Him Increased Visibility.
  • 1999:  Moves To London.
  • 2001:  Participates In The BP Portrait Award, Where He Presents Carlos Sitting On A Clear Plastic Chair.
  • 2006 : Meets Laurence Esnol With Whom He Befriends. Begins To Perfect His Ink And Acrylic Painting Technique On Perspex. Second Participation In The BP Portrait Award With Hermes And Georges .
  • 2008 : In June, Opening Of The Laurence Esnol Gallery, Entirely Dedicated To The Work Of H. Craig HANNA. Round Trips Between London And Paris.
  • 2011 : Moves To Paris.
  • 2012 : Paints Laurence With Blue Glove , Her First Outdoor Portrait And Her First Portrait Of Laurence Esnol.
  • 2014:  Embarks On A Series Of Monumental Paintings:  Mother And Child – Chagrin River ,  Arrangement Of Dancers And The Three Graces .
  • 2015:  His Work Arrangement Of Dancers Enters The National Museum Of History And Art Luxembourg (MNHA). The Museum Will Dedicate A Retrospective To H. Craig HANNA In The First Half Of 2016.
  • 2016:  4-Month Monographic Exhibition “  H. Craig HANNA – Paintings And Drawings ” At MNHA.



  • 2016: Retrospective At The National Museum Of History And Art Of Luxembourg (MNHA)
  • April 2015: Paris Beaux-Arts Art Fair, Paris, Laurence Esnol Gallery
  • January 2012: BRAFA 2012, Brussels, Laurence Esnol Gallery
  • November 2011: St’Art, Strasburg , Laurence Esnol Gallery
  • October 2011: SHOW Off, Paris, Laurence Esnol Gallery
  • May 2011: Art By Genève, Geneva, Laurence Esnol Gallery
  • January 2011: BRAFA 2011, Brussels, Laurence Esnol Gallery
  • November 2010: St’Art, Strasburg, Laurence Esnol Gallery
  • October 2010: SHOW Off, Paris, Laurence Esnol Gallery
  • August 2010: Orangery Of The Senate, Senate, Paris, Laurence Esnol Gallery
  • March 2010: Pavillon Des Arts Et Du Design, Paris, Laurence Esnol Gallery
  • December 2009: St’Art, Strasburg, Laurence Esnol Gallery
  • September 2009: Salon Des Collectionneurs, Paris, Laurence Esnol Gallery
  • June 2009: Scope Art Basel, Basel, Laurence Esnol Gallery
  • March 2009: Art Paris 09, Paris, Laurence Esnol Gallery
  • April 2008 : SLICK Dessin, Paris, Cynthia Corbett Gallery
  • March 2008: SOBO GALLERY, Solo Show London Bermondsey Street, Cynthia Corbett Gallery
  • March 2008: Red Dot, New York, Cynthia Corbett Gallery
  • February 2008: New Gallery, Habitat Solo Show Kings Road, London
  • January 2008: Form Art Fair, London, Cynthia Corbett Gallery
  • December 2007: Art Basel, Miami, Cynthia Corbett Gallery
  • August 2007: Cuccumio Gallery, Solo Show Sardinia
  • March 2007: Blenhiem Gallery, Three Yellows Solo Show Notting Hill, London
  • January 2007: Art Fair 2007, London, Cynthia Corbett Gallery
  • June 2006: National Portrait Gallery BP Portrait Award, London
  • April 2006: National Museum Of Fine Arts, Solo Show, Malta
  • February 2006: From Art Fair, London, Cynthia Corbett Gallery
  • January 2005: London Art Fair 2005, Cynthia Corbett Gallery
  • January 2004: London Art Fair 2004, Cynthia Corbett Gallery
  • September 2002: Westbourne Studios, Gimme Five Group Show, London
  • June 2001: National Portrait Gallery BP, Portrait Award, London
  • June 2001: The Brick House Gallery, Solo Show Brick Lan, London
  • September 2000: The Oxo Gallery, Group Show, London
  • February 2000: Galerie Martini, Solo Show Wellington Street, Hong Kong
  • November 1999: Groucho Club, Solo Show Dean Street, London
  • June 1998: Gallery At Bergdorf Goodman, Solo Show Fifth Avenue, New York
  • May 1997: Belgrade Gallery, Solo Show, Wooster Street, New York
  • February 1997: Space Gallery, Solo Show, Broadway, New York
Craig Hanna Painting
Craig Hanna Painting

Craig Hanna Website


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