Armin Carl Hansen was among the foremost Northern Californian artists in the early twentieth century and was heralded as "the Winslow Homer of the West Coast." He was most often identified with powerful seascapes and genre scenes of fisherfolk. Inspired by the example of his father, the frontier painter H. W. Hansen (1854-1924), Armin Hansen began studying art in 1903 at the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art with Arthur Mathews (1860-1945), but the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 cut short his studies there. He continued his studies abroad with Carlos Grethe (1864-1913) at the Royal Academy in Stuttgart. Hansen maintained a studio at Nieuwpoort, a rustic art colony near Oostende, on the coast of Belgium, where he painted the life of fishermen. While working on a trawler in the North Sea, he became well versed in the sea’s moods. In 1910 he created his first works in etching, a medium in which he excelled.
Despite the recognition he received while exhibiting abroad-where he won a prize for his painting Low Tide (unlocated) at the 1910 Exposition Universelle et Internationale de Bruxelles-Hansen returned to the United States in 1912 and began teaching at the University of California, Berkeley. Within a year he had settled permanently in Monterey, where he painted his best-known, dramatic canvases of the coast. During the 1910s and 1920s he directed the summer landscape classes of the Monterey branch of the California School of Art and formed the Carmel Art Association. He exhibited extensively throughout the country, receiving many honors, and was accorded several solo exhibitions, among them one at the Helgesen Gallery in San Francisco in 1913 and several at the Milch Galleries, New York, during the 1920s. In 1925 he was elected to the National Academy of Design. As a result of a visit to Taos, New Mexico, in 1930, he briefly turned away from his marine paintings to depict the desert and people of the Southwest.
Harry Noyes Pratt, "Three California Painters," American Magazine of Art 16 (April 1925): 198-201 § California Art Research 9 (1937): 10533, with lists of works, collections, exhibitions, and awards, bibliography § "Dean of Western Painters," Western Woman 7 (1944): 3-4 § San Francisco, Maxwell Galleries, Ltd., Armin Carl Hansen, exh. cat., 1982 § Raymond R. White, The Graphic Art of Armin C. Hansen (Los Angeles: Hennessy & Ingalls, 1986), with catalogue of prints.