Janitor

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Duane Hanson (American, 1925–1996)
Janitor, 1973
Polyester, fiberglass, and mixed-media
65 1/2 × 28 × 22 in. (166.37 × 71.12 × 55.88 cm)
Gift of Friends of Art M1973.91
Photo credit: John R. Glembin
© Estate of Duane Hanson/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Currently on View

Duane Hanson is well known for his hyper-realistic figures made of polyester and cast fiberglass enhanced by real clothing, accessories, and props. The realism of his sculptures draws the viewer in for a closer look and links Hanson with the Photorealist painters who also explored methods of copying as a form of image-making. Hanson’s intent, however, was not merely to reproduce reality but also to comment on the human condition. His subjects are ordinary people leading unremarkable lives—a cleaning lady, a woman shopping, a museum guard. The artist’s desire to infuse an emotional quality into his figures is evident in the Janitor. The humpbacked figure dressed in his work clothes leans against the nearest support and stares downward with one hand on his hip. His blank expression signifies resignation and the hopelessness of those caught in the daily grind.

Publication History
Bleicher, Steven. Contemporary Color: Theory & Use. Clifton Park, New York: Delmar Cengage Learning, 2012, p. 132, fig. 7–5, collor illus.

Matelli, Tony. Tony Matelli: A Human Echo. London: Koenig Books, 2012, color illus. p. 148, fig. 4.

Engberg, Siri, Michael Lobel, Josiah McElheny, and Rochelle Steiner. Lifelike. Minneapolis: Walker Art Center, 2012, color pl. 15.

Matelli, Tony. Tony Matelli: Glass of Water. Cologne: Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, 2011, b/w illus. p. 52.

Lewis, Richard, and Susan I. Lewis. The Power of Art. 2nd ed. Austrailia: Thomson/Wadsworth, 2007, p. 450, pl. 20-13.

Milwaukee Art Museum News, September 2007, no page number, color illus.

Andera, Margaret, Nonie Gadsden, Britt Salvesen, and Laurie Winters. Collection Guide: Milwaukee Art Museum. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Milwaukee Art Museum, 2004, pp. 41, 70, cat. 64, color illus. p. 41.

Hubbard, Guy. Sculptures of Ordinary People. Arts & Activities Magazine (June-Summer 2000): color illus. p. 22.

Sobel, Dean. From Figure to Floor: Sculpture in the 20th Century from the Collection of the Milwaukee Art Museum. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Milwaukee Art Museum, 1998, p. 66, cat. 28, b/w illus. p. 39.

SC Johnson Waax. Multicultural Guide: Southeastern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois (Spring 1996): b/w illus. p. 3.

Lewis, Richard, and Susan I. Lewis. The Power of Art. Forth Worth: Harcourt Brace College Publishers, 1995, p. 431, b/willus. p. 431, illus. no. 17-18.

Livingstone, Marco. Duane Hanson. Montreal, Quebec: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 1994, color illus. p. 41, credit p. 106 (no.5) and 110.

Mittler, Gene A, Ph.D. Art in Focus. Westerville, Ohio, Glencoe Division of Macmillan-McGraw-Hill School Publishing Co., 1994, color illus. p. 78, fig. 4.1.

School Art. The Art Education Magazine (January 1992): p. 48 verso.

Auer, James. Lineup: Variety Thrives Amid Modern-Art Slant. The Milwaukee Journal, April 3, 1988, Wisconsin, a Special Section, p. 9, color illus. http://infoweb.newsbank.com/resources/doc/nb/image/v2:1477BBDEA50EB75C@EANX-NB-160FBAF5B7A893DD@2447255-160CE6C71E6A7308@237-160CE6C71E6A7308@?p=WORLDNEWS. (accessed August 24, 2017).

Goldstein, Rosalie, ed. Guide to the Permanent Collection. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Milwaukee Art Museum, 1986, p. 225, color illus. p. 225.

Milwaukee Art Center. Postcard (by Artvue Postcard Co., New York). Summer 1976.

John De Andrea. The Real and Ideal in Figurative Sculpture. Chicago: Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago,1974, illus.
Exhibition History
Lifelike, Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ, February 5–May 18, 2014.

Lifelike, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN, February 25–May 27, 2012.

From Figure to Floor: Sculpture in the 20th Century, Milwaukee Art Museum, September 11 – November 8, 1998.

Duane Hanson, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, February 3–May 8, 1994; Modern Art Museum of Forth Worth, Texas, June 26–October 2, 1994.

Art Since 1970 from the Milwaukee Art Museum, Madison Art Center, May 29-August 21, 1988.

Duane Hanson, Edwin A. Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University, Witchita, Kansas, October 6–October 21, 1976, cat. p. 53 and 59, color repro. p. 59.

The Real and Ideal in Figurative Sculpture, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, June 29–August 25, 197.


This information is subject to change as the result of ongoing research.