Dorothee Hansen studied Art History, Classical Archaeology and Medieval History in Munich. In 1992, she completed her PhD under Professor Hans Belting. After her traineeship at the Hamburger Kunsthalle, she became curator of 15th- to 19th-century painting at the Kunsthalle Bremen in 1995. She has been deputy director there since 2008. Hansen has curated exhibitions such as Van Gogh: Fields (2002–03), Monet and Camille: Portraits of Women in Impressionism (2005–06), Edvard Munch: Enigma behind the Canvas (2011–12), Émile Bernard: On the Pulse of Modernism (2015) and Max Liebermann: From Leisure to Modern Sport (2016–17).