Dahl was considering the age of 16 before good drawings ethnological themes. He was initially an officer in the Swedish army, but only came up to Secondelieutenant. In 1873 he took his leave and trained at the academy in Karlsruhe under Hans Fredrik Gude and Wilhelm Riefenstahl and at the Dusseldorf Art Academy under Eduard von Gebhardt and Wilhelm son of a painter.
Throughout his life, his range of subjects increasingly narrowed. In later years, Dahl painted mainly laughing peasant girl in the hay on a sunny fjord, reminiscent of the shape of the Synnøve Solbakken Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson and purchased by the German tourists like to, but desavourierten him as a serious artist.
The transition from Romanticism to Modernism 1880 Dahl did not. He was therefore criticized, among other things, Christian Krohg, but shared this fate with others in Norway so-called higher estimated Dusseldorfers like Anders Askevold and Morten Müller. Dahl countered with self-published pamphlets. In Norway, art exhibitions (1901) and The Painter and the public (1929 ), he resigned his artistic testament. Dahl sent numerous pictures to the National Gallery in Oslo for the purchase, their leader Jens Thiis but brusquely rejected this. To date, the National Gallery, Oslo has not a single painting by Dahl. As the only German Museum, the Dresden Municipal Gallery has a picture of Dahl. But in the art trade between the two countries his pictures make huge prices.
In 1893 he settled in a villa style dragon on the shores of the Sognefjord build in Balestrand, called beach home. He was following a council of nobles Steen Normann, who had already settled there in 1890, to spend the summer here, but it was Dahl's Villa larger and more exalted. Between 1888 and 1919 Dahl lived mostly in Berlin- Wilmersdorf and brought only the summer in Balestrand to. Kaiser Wilhelm II, who went every summer to Scandinavia 1889-1914, estimated and frequently visited him. Apparently he appreciated his conservative stance in painting and his politics. Dahl was an annual ball in his garden, which was attended by the emperor. 1910 appointed him professor Wilhelm. Even Themistocles of Eckenbrecher visited Dahl in beach home and painted him in 1895 a door with a still life.
Balestrand became the most visited tourist destination in Western Norway. When Wilhelm in 1910 decided to establish a Frithjof and a Bele monument on the Sognefjord, he moved Dahl added as a consultant. 1913 monuments were erected. 1913 found in the fjords rather than exercises German warships that were criticized by the Norwegian press. Hans Dahl sought in favor of the emperor. In 1913 he wrote in a Norwegian newspaper in his favor and stated that the German tourists " bring large sums of money into the country. " Dahl A painting by William took with exile in Doorn. After 1919, Dahl no longer traveled to Berlin, but remained in Balestrand. Dahl was married to the German Helene assessment, a daughter of the painter Clemens assessment. His son was Hans Andreas Dahl. His grave is in the churchyard Tjugum.
- Dahl, Hans: Wake up! Your peoples of the north: Leipzig,
- Dahl, Hans: Norges art paa udstillingerne. Kristiania, 1901.
- Dahl, Hans: Malerne og audience. Balestrand, 1929.
- " Engelsk keisar i norsk fjord ". The Emperor by the Sognefjord and especially Hans Dahl, Documentary 1985
- Melkild, Arne: Kunstnarliv. Leikanger 1993, pp. 70-76