Hans Christiansen is considered one of the main exponents of German Jugendstil. Christiansen's artisan and graphic works had a significant influence on the art of the time. The versatile work of the artist reflects the central theme of a complete renewal of style through a synthesis of art and life like no other. After his apprenticeship as decorative painter in Flensburg from 1881 to 1885, Christiansen spent two years working at an interior decoration shop in Hamburg. Subsequently he went to Munich to study.
In 1889 Christiansen went on a study trip to Italy. On his return he taught at a technical college in Hamburg. At the same time he worked as a freelance decorative painter and actively contributed to the "Volkskunst-Verein", trying to bring about a reform based on the model of the Arts-and-Crafts movement.
A visit to Chicago in 1893, during which he saw glass works by Louis Comfort Tiffany, left a lasting impression on Hans Christiansen.
In 1895 he moved to Paris, where he studied painting at the "Academie Julian" from 1896 to 1899. Christiansen's style of painting and drawing was influenced by Nabis and representatives of the French Art Nouveau. Alongside painting, Hans Christiansen increasingly worked with drafts for artisan crafts. He furthermore contributed to the Munich journal "Jugend". His cover designs and graphic advertising designs made him famous.
In 1898 the artist was awarded a professorship. Christiansen then continued his work in the Darmstadt artists' colony, where he stayed until 1902. During the winter months Christiansen often stayed in Paris, where he mainly focused on artisan crafts, concentrating primarily on textile art.
From 1914 the artist mainly returned to painting and writing and from 1918 he re-focused on portraits. Due to the decorative charm of Christiansen's works and the monotype-process he developed, he achieved great acclaim as a decorative painter during the 1920s. In 1933 Christiansen was banned from painting. His artisan work included designs for wallpaper patterns, tapestries and ceramics and templates for artisan embroidery. His murals and ceiling paintings and the glass windows with landscape and floral images, which he produced from 1897, are characterised by their bright colors. They also reflect the influence of Japonism and the poster style of Mucha and Toulouse-Lautrec.