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Steve Hanks (American, 1949-2014)

Paintings

Birth Place: San Diego, California

Biography:

Who was painter Steve Hanks?

Steve Hanks was an American painter best known for his watercolors which he described as ‘emotional realism’. Throughout his lifetime, Hanks did a number of jobs to support his art. That time spent in close contact with people led to a free-flowing, open style that at times verged on the sentimental. His work was long popular with audiences before it became popular with critics. His populist leanings didn’t mean that the painter lacked substance, just that his talent was in conveying simple, brilliant truths about life, love, and the family.

When success did come, it came in droves. He received the National Watercolor Society Merit Award and the National Academy of Western Art Gold Medal. His work was featured on Good Morning America and he repeatedly appeared on the top ten lists of American artists in U.S. Art Magazine. His work with Art for the Parks has been acknowledged by that group with several awards throughout the 1990s and 2000s. 

What kind of art did Steve Hanks make?

Steve Hanks made watercolors of figure painting, typically of feminine figures. His figure painting was incredible, with an amazingly deft hand for conveying movement and emotion with watercolors -- thanks in large part to an allergy to oil paint. Later in his career, he became proficient in an extremely non-traditional medium -- the etch-a-sketch. Whether it was boredom or just the desire for a new challenge, Hanks made a name for himself as the best artist to ever use an etch-a-sketch. While this may be a funny detail, it shows the artist for who he was -- thoughtful, brilliant, talented, and never one to take himself too seriously. 

How did painter Steve Hanks get started?

Steve Hanks was born in San Diego, but his family moved to New Mexico while Hanks was still in high school. After graduation, Hanks moved to the Bay Area where he attended the Academy of Fine Arts in San Francisco where he did great work in commercial art and figure drawing. He transferred to the California College of Arts and Crafts where he graduated with a BFA in the 1970s. Later in the decade, he took a job as a caretaker for a girl’s camp in New Mexico. While there Hanks was given almost unlimited time to work on his art, a time that Hanks always pointed to as crucial in his development as an artist and the ‘emotional realism’ style for which he became known. 

How much are Steve Hanks paintings worth?

Steve Hanks's paintings are typically worth a few thousand dollars, with some outliers reaching as high as $30,000 or more at auction. The most ever paid for a Steve Hanks painting is $31,500 for the figure painting, Watching Her Back (date not given) on June 11th, 2011. It’s very indicative of Hanks’s typical oeuvre and style, a woman in repose, her back to the artist, brilliant light playing across the subject and background. 

Where to buy Steve Hanks paintings for sale?

See the works for sale below. Why buy from Heritage? Art buyers feel confident because our experts know the market and put careful valuations on the artwork for sale. We make the bidding process easier to help you expand your art collection.

How to value Steve Hanks paintings?

The best way to value art is to compare past auction prices for similar works. View past sale prices below. When you’re ready to sell, contact Heritage Auctions to request an auction estimate of the likely selling price at auction. If you need a formal written appraisal for estate planning or insurance, please contact our Appraisal Services Department.


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Steve Hanks Original Art values sold at auction

Note: Amounts include buyer's premium.
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