Stephen Hannock American, b. 1951


Stephen Hannock, labeled a neo-romantic and contemporary luminist, is well-known for his powerful landscapes whose surfaces shimmer with light.  The artist achieves this effect by ‘polishing’ the surface of the canvas as he works, using fine sandpaper on the surface of the canvas after each layer of paint is dry. Hannock starts his compositions with a sketch with gouache.  This sketch helps him decide where the luminosity should be applied.  Once he has decided where the light should come from, he decides on the tone of the painting and then adds the proper underpainting.  Hannock uses a spontaneous process of successively layering paint and then polishing with a power sander.  While his paintings have a photographic quality to them, it is interesting to note that Hannock does not use photographs for reference while painting even though he paints entirely in his studio.  Hannock frequently spent time in a boat on the river.  He would watch how the light changed over the water.  These experiences influenced the composition of many of his paintings which don’t always have a foreground.  Landscape has become his predominant motif and he frequently revisits compositions.  These recognizable, yet manipulated and symbolic landscapes, have remained the focus of his art, and his mastery of technique has resulted in pictures that appear to glow from within.  Through his compositional minimalism, he is able to explore into the effects of light and to render mood in his paintings.


Stephen Hannock was born in Albany, New York, in 1951.  From 1971 to 1986 he lived in Northampton, Massachusetts, where he was apprenticed to Leonard Baskin until 1975.  He currently lives in New York City.

Museums and Public Collections

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY

Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA

Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA

Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA

Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, MA

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX

Dayton Art Institute, Dayton, OH

Readers Digest Collection, Pleasantville, NY

National Museum of American Art, Washington, DC

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