Hans Hacker, born March 4, 1910, in Waldenburg, Silesia, Germany, first came to East Liverpool in 1933 to represent his company, E. Wunderlich and Co. After several trips he relocated in 1939 and made this his home. He became entranced with the scenic hills, the beautiful Ohio River and the quaint buildings the city had to offer an artist.
A graduate in design and fine arts from Breslau Art School, Breslau, Germany, he accepted a position as head designer with Wunderlich, which had a close relationship with Commercial Decal, Inc., exporting ceramic decals.
When he moved to East Liverpool, he accepted employment with Commercial Decal and became art and technical director of the Specialty Division. He was with the company until his retirement in 1977.
He and his wife, the former Johanna "Hannah" Krause of his hometown in Germany, had three children, Dr. Peter Hacker, Mrs. Barbara Gilmore and Hans "Ollie" Hacker.
The artist’s paintings of East Liverpool landmarks and adjoining areas covered a period of almost 200 years of local history. His oils and watercolors of frontier homes, schools, businesses, factories, bridges and landscapes still can be found in area homes, businesses and public places.
"There is no way to measure the impact of his work," says Frank C. Dawson, who has many of Hacker's paintings on display at his funeral home. "He was so gifted and talented that his work will live on for years to come."
Hacker received awards from the Butler Institute in Youngstown and from art shows in Pittsburgh and other areas. His artistic style was known as basic realism, and it was said that while art progressed into surrealism and modernism, he adapted but kept the same basic style, mastering it and making it his own.
In 1985 he was honored as the East Liverpool Historical Society's Man of the Year. Timothy Brookes of the Historical Society said of Hacker, "How fortunate East Liverpool was to end up as the adopted home of someone so creative. Due to his interest and talent, he was able to preserve and document the appearance of structures that have ceased to exist, and specific moments in time from the city’s past have been preserved in his work, hopefully forever."
Also in 1985, an accounting of his life and success was read into the Congressional Record of the 99th Congress, First Session, by the Hon. Douglas Applegate. It read in part ?Hans Hacker developed his artistic skill in his native Germany where, by the age of 11, he was well on the way to painting and selling his works of art. Coming from a family that was artistic to begin with ? his father a commercial artist at a pottery and his mother an art teacher ? Hans was well prepared to nurture the talents that he has expressed through his paint brushes for well over half a century.
"There is nothing Hans can't apply to canvas and the world around him is just waiting to fall under the stroke of his brush."
According to the Congressional Record, Hacker summed up his own philosophy of art as such, "You have to have the talent to begin with. It also depends on the environment you grow up in. You have to do it from when you were a youngster. Whatever you like, you put your heart and soul into it ? it?s what keeps me young."
Upon his death in 1994, Commercial Decal representatives said he had designed more dinnerware patterns than any other artist in the United States and had a great influence on American dinnerware from the late 1930s on.