Dan Christensen

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Dan Christensen, Untitled (1983)

Acrylic on canvas Sold
51 x 37.25 inches


Dan Christensen (1942 – 2007)

Art critic Clement Greenberg described Dan Christensen’s art as Color Field or Post-Painterly Abstraction. One of the leading American abstract artists, Christensen’s art was expressed through the use of both line and color. But apart from being abstract, his art and paintings offer a wide variety of styles, including modernism.

Inspired by the artwork of Jackson Pollock at an early age, Dan spent 40 years painting. And not only painting, but exploring everything connected to the art of painting. As a result, his art and paintings were original, joyful and surprising. He was innovative at the time when painting was dead. He was also a dedicated artist and his work meant a lot to him. Christensen the artist, came up with the term “the harmonious turbulence of the universe”. This turbulence came from his exploratory approach to creating artwork.


He was born in Cozad, Nebraska, in 1942 and graduated from high school in North Platte. The artist later attended Chadron State College in the late 1950s, where his artistic talent was first recognized by his professors. He transferred to the Kansas City Art Institute, where he graduated as class valedictorian in 1964.

In 1964, he moved to New York, where he worked at various jobs. As a bartender, carpenter and many other things, while starting his career as an artist. It happened then and there that his art was influenced by the city and the art world of New York.

In 1967, Dan Christensen art made the move from figuration to abstract painting. He started producing paintings with a spray gun, giving them the definition of abstract and original. He drew loops, lines and colorful stacks on his paintings. This made his art quite noticeable and got him his first artwork exhibition at the Andre Emmerich Gallery.

Two years later, in 1969, Dan Christensen art took a new course. He started creating geometric “plaid” paintings, and had a first one-person show at the same Andre Emmerich Gallery, along with the prominent Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski and Helen Frankenthaler. One of Dan Christensen most famous paintings, Lisa’s Red is from this period. This painting was included in an exhibition of his work from 1966 to 2006. The exhibition was held at Sheldon Museum and was titled Dan Christensen: Forty Years of Painting.

Dan Christensen Art Career

In the 1970s and 80s, he was exploring new techniques. At that time, Dan Christensen was already an acclaimed artist in New York. But as Jacobshagen said, outside New York, probably nobody knew him. Keith Jacobshagen, a Lincoln painter, had a good feeling about Dan Christensen’s artistic talent from the very first beginning of his career as an artist. He was at the Kansas City Art Institute with Christensen in the early 1960s and said – “He had a real nice sense of skill and of touch. He was painting figuratively at that time. It wasn’t until Dan Christensen moved to New York and was influenced by the city and the New York art world that he started painting abstraction.”

Along with Jacobshagen, Kennedy, the curator of Sheldon Museum of Art supported Dan Christensen’s art. The curator described him as an innovative and dedicated artist. Both of them consider that only Dan Christensen managed to gain a national reputation at the time. But before them, there was an architect, Philip Jonson, who supported his art from his early steps. He bought some of Christensen’s art and even gave one painting to the Museum of Modern Art.

Dan Christensen’s Legacy

Fifty years later, in the 2000s, Dan Christensen is the most noted Nebraska native artist of his era. Artist Dan Christensen’s unique approach to line and shape was even researched at the Butler Institute of American Art, Ohio. His paintings are now collectible and held by both art collectors and museums. It can now be difficult to find Dan Christensen art for sale. Kennedy, the curator of the Sheldon Museum of Art, claims that Dan Christensen should have been recognized much earlier.

Artist Dan Christensen spent his whole life creating art. From the 1970s to the very end of his life he was exploring new art and painting techniques.

He spent the end of his life in East Hampton. He died in 2007, but his art is now more alive than ever.