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11 November 1908 Sir Hans Heysen

11 November 1908   Sir Hans Heysen

On 11 November 1908 Hans Heysen and his wife were able to fulfil a long held wish when they went to live in his beloved Hahndorf. Hans Heysen came to South Australia from Hamburg as a young boy and by the time he was 16 he was painting watercolours of the countryside around Hahndorf. On weekdays he worked as an errand boy for a hardware store at Norwood and later travelled around the local area, six days a week, selling butter and eggs from his father’s produce cart. One day a pawnbroker offered him £2 15s per week for six watercolours and three oils and Heysen began his career as a serious painter. In October 1899 he left for Europe and for four years studied in France and Italy. On his return he married and taught art in Adelaide. A successful exhibition of his work in Melbourne in 1908 enabled him to set up his home in Hahndorf. For the rest of his life he lived and worked there, painting the people, animals, buildings and particularly the trees of the Adelaide Hills and other parts of SA winning the Wynn Prize nine times He died on 2 July 1968 and his studio where he worked for more than fifty years is preserved as his memorial.

Colin Thiele, Heysen’s Early Hahndorf, Rigby, 1976.

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