Duck pair carved by ND folk artist Thomas Hansen

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  • Item Category: -
  • Source: eBay
  • Sold Date: Jun 11, 2011
  • Channel: Auction House

This wonderfully carved pair of standing Ducks are fresh out of a Northern Michigan Estate. The bottom of the mallard is marked "Thos Hansen, Valley City ND", the Redhead has no markings but came out of the same lot of birds and has some of the same attributes so I am assumming it is also by Mr Hansen. As you will note in the background information listed below, Mr Hansen was well known for his bird carvings and these have become quiet collectable and hard to find. I have several of these from the same estate that I will be listing so be sure to check out my other auctions. I am guesstimating these to be from the 1950's or 60's. Great overall condition as can be seen in the pics with nice coloring.

The Hen Mallard measures 3.5" long and stands 3.25" tall. The redhead measures 4" long x 4"tall. The birds feet are carved out of the base. There are a spots on the back of the mallard but otherwise are in nice condition as can be seen in the pics.

Background information:

Hansen, Thomas
born. April 27, 1895
Discipline: Wood

Like one of his intricate carvings whittled from a block of wood, the talent of Thomas Hansen was shaped out of a childhood disability. Stricken with osteomylitis (a bone infection) at the age of 12, Hansen spent much of his teenage years in a hospital and wheelchair. Sheer boredom allowed Hansen to not only develop an interest in woodcarving, but also the time to properly turn it into a skill.

An avid hunter and outdoorsman before and after his sickness, Hansen often modeled his carvings after game birds. They were said to be so life-like that game wardens used them as visual aids during lectures and wildlife groups employed them to help teach identification.

Hansen whittled his birds in pairs since the different genders in each species often have differing colors and feather patterns. Producing several of each species at a time, he first made a pattern that he traced onto pine or basswood. He would then cut the pattern out of the larger piece of wood with a jigsaw and carve details with a jackknife. When that was finished, he sanded away the rough edges and painted the carving.

A farmer by trade, he turned woodcarving into a full-blown business when he retired and moved to Valley City.

- Ben Nemenoff


Rolfsrud, Erling Nicolai. Extraordinary North Dakotans . Alexandria, Minnesota: Lantern Books, 1954.

Taylor, Edwin Mrs. Catalogue of Art Workers Within North Dakota . Bismarck: American Association of University Women (local branch), 1945.