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Duane Hanson, Supermarket lady (in english)

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This is a photorealistic sculpture, it is full scale (1m66 high) and coloured. It is named Supermarket Lady. It shows a woman with a crammed shopping cart. It was scupted by Duane Hanson in 1969. He was born in 1925 and died in 1996.

This sculpture is made of polyester resin, fibreglass and oil polychromed paint with real clothes.


It’s not so easy to guess how old the woman is. She might be around forty. She is 1m66 tall and she is fat. She is wearing a pink tight top and a blue short tight skirt with blue slippers. She has a yellow necklace, a bracelet, a black shiny handbag and curlers on the head covered by a striped satin scarf. She is smoking a cigarette.

Her skin is covered with small bruises and varicose veins.

She is rather ugly. She looks tired and her look is expressionless.

She is standing pushing her shopping cart which is full of industrial products like chocolate cookies, vacuum-packed meat or coke.  There are no fresh fruit or vegetables, only packets or cans. The lady doesn’t have to cook, she just has to reheat already cooked meals.

She looks neither wealthy nor poor, she’s probably from middle class. She’s not an elegant woman and looks rather vulgar. She’s unattractive.


It’s a lifelike sculpture and it looks absolutely real. The clothes are real. Duane Hanson wanted to show common people in their every day life.

This sculpture is a bit funny because it’s grotesque: the sculpture is too big, nevertheless, the proportions are that of a real woman. The idea of a woman going shopping with slippers on her feet, curlers on her head and a cigarette in her mouth is ridiculous, weird and even appalling. We would not see such a scene in France for example.

But the sculpture also inspires disgust and repulsion because this woman is excessive. She can be compared to her caddie which is crammed. The woman is too fat like her caddie is overflowing. Her clothes are too tight for her and her caddie is too small for her. She’s buying too much and eating too much. If the caddie was bigger, she would probably buy even more food.

However, she doesn’t seem to be satisfied of this bulimic attitude because she looks a bit sad and weary. She seems to act like a robot, she’s buying things mechanically.

This woman doesn’t stand for the  »American Dream », she’s not exactly the glamourous type. She’s in a way a victim of the mass consumption.


This sculpture was made at the end of the post-war economic boom, in the late sixties. The first supermarkets had already appeared and people were able to buy many things in the same place. Moreover, people did not have to cook anymore because they could buy unhealthy ready-made meals. Food-processing industry boomed and prevailed over hand-made cooking.

Duane Hanson wanted to denounce the  »American way of life » and the consequences of overconsumption. People have lost their common senses and are not even aware of being excessive and buying things they do not need at all. Duane Hanson shows us fragile and easy influenced people who are not able to refuse that society.

We feel pity for that woman who becomes a product herself and we must question the society we live in.

Parallel with other pictures

Coca-cola – Andy Warhol (1928-1987) Campbells soup – Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol also shows the mass consumption with his series of paintings of coke bottles or Campbells soup cans. He highlighted the new every day life food: no more fresh fruit or vegetables but packed products from the food-processing industry. He focused his attention on the product itself and made a work of art out of it.

Teacher : P. Gouyette

Publié par duhamel le 14 mai 2012 dans 3ème
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2 réactions à “Duane Hanson, Supermarket lady (in english)”

  1. duhamel
    14 mai 2012


  2. Michel
    25 octobre 2012

    cool merci beaucou

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