Alexey Vasilievich Hanzen

Alexey Vasilievich Hanzen

1876 —1937

Alexei Hanzen was a gifted seascape and landscape artist, avid collector, grandson and pupil of I. K. Aivazovsky. The artist's work is better known and appreciated outside Russia as he was living mainly abroad. Following his grandfather's steps, the artist dedicated his art mostly to the sea and the Navy. His seascapes have a romantic touch but at the same time are quite accurate in their documentary and historical aspect. Hanzen was born on January 19 (New Style: January 31), 1876 in Odessa, Ukraine. He spent his childhood and youth at the Black Sea shore, visiting his grandfather's studio to learn and master techniques until 1900. Despite his admirable artistic abilities, Hanzen studied Law at Imperial Novorossiya University in his hometown, Odessa. The artist started to pursue his artistic education in Germany. He graduated from the two Academies of Fine Arts in Berlin and Dresden and continued to deepen his knowledge in Munich, and then later, in Paris. His mentors were K. Zaltzman, P. Meyergeym, E. Brecht, A. Robert-Fleury, and J. Lefebvre. Hanzen briefly worked as a journalist - illustrator for the "New Times" journal and travelled a lot in relation to this, mostly to Caucasus, Crimea, and Balkans. His work was also published in 'War Chronicle', 'Field', 'Sun of Russia', 'Son of Russia'.

Between 1904 - 1912 Hanzen was living in Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands, and Sweden. Great success came after 1907 with exhibitions in Florence, Berlin, and Paris as well as numerous commissions and many works being shipped to London, America, Paris. He participated in the Salon d'Automne and the Salon of French Artists. Hanzen was appointed to the position of an official artist of the Naval Ministry in 1909. Next year, in 1910, as a consequence of his passion for collecting art, he took the initiative to establish the first art museum in Odessa. Hanzen's collection was quite impressive and consisted of almost 400 works of art, including Ayvazovsky, Menier, Brodsky, Burdanov, Vrubel, Roerich, and even Rembrandt. In 1914, Hanzen was a regular visitor in the Old Crimea and was relentlessly painting with oil, watercolour, gouache, sepia, as well as using the technique of engraving. During this period, he created the cycle of works on the topic of the Russo-Japanese war. He continued using military subject matters and painted more battle scenes at the time of the Great War when he worked on a series of paintings that presented the daily life and militant activities of the Navy. In 1916, the album 'Russian Imperial Fleet' was published in Petrograd, which included 48 works by Hanzen. The artist lived in Odessa between 1917 - 1919. He was taking part in many different artistic organisations such as the International Association of Watercolourists, the Association of Engraving, the Russian Society in Paris, the Association of the Society of Artists.

Following the October Revolution, a disturbing and unstable environment of the Civil War, which prevailed in the country, and also changing of artistic climate in Russia, forced Hanzen to emigrate to Croatia in 1920. He first moved to Zagreb, and then settled in Dubrovnik. To see how internationally successful was Hanzen's work it is necessary to see the range of cities that exhibited his work: Belgrade, Bucharest, Buenos Aires, Prague, Rome, Rio de Janeiro. His seascapes and battle scenes have always been in demand among the public. The artist died on October 28, 1937, in Dubrovnik. He was actively painting until the last days. Today, his works are on display in the Feodosia Art Gallery in Crimea and Odessa Art Museum, as well as in the Royal Collections of Italy, Croatia and Romania.


Ганзен А.В. (n.d.). Художник Алексей Васильевич Ганзен. [online] Available at:

Огурцова, Е. (n.d.). Алексей Васильевич (Вильгельмович) Ганзен /1876 - 1937/. [online] Available at:

Шестимиров, А. (2010). Маринист-импрессионист Алексей Ганзен. Антикварное обозрение, (5), pp.44 - 47