The grandson of the famous sea painter Ivan Aivazovsky, Aleksei von Hanzen studied at academies in Dresden and Berlin and completed his education in Paris under Tony Robert-Fleury and Jules Lefebvre.
He settled in France and around 1906 began exhibiting in Paris at the Salon des Artistes Français. Although he emigrated to France, he maintained contacts as a seascape painter with the Russian Ministry of the Navy. In 1907, he received an award of merit at the Salon des Champs-Élysées with the Black Sea. He exhibited a group of his works at the Galerie Georges Petit in Paris in July 1929.