Richard Hamilton (1922 - 2011) was one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century. Born in London, he attended evening classes at St Martin's School of Art, before enrolling in the painting course, aged 16, at the Royal Academy Schools in 1938. His studies were interrupted by the outbreak of war, when for a period he worked as a draughtsman at EMI. After the war he returned to the Royal Academy but was expelled for "not profiting from instruction". He subsequently studied at the Slade School of Art from 1948 to 1951. It was here that he began illustrating James Joyce's Ulysses, an endeavour that was to preoccupy him throughout his life.
Hamilton participated in the seminal exhibition This is Tomorrow at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1956, producing a collage entitled Just what is it that makes today's homes so different, so appealing? In this collage he depicted a muscle man holding a paddle with the word 'POP' on it. From here, he thus gave birth to the whole 'Pop Art' movement. At the time he wrote a letter to the architects Peter and Alison Smithson, which listed all the main components of 'Pop Art'.
Hamilton drew directly upon the social changes he was witnessing, whether reflecting on the rise of a consumer culture or on the mediation of political events. These found form in images of protests, in portraits, in interiors and in landscapes, often employing digital technology and media to develop multiple manifestations of the same image through varying interpretations. His paintings and in particular his prints, consistently challenged and broke previously accepted boundaries.
Hamilton taught at the London Central School of Arts and Crafts, the Royal College of Art and the University of Newcastle upon Tyne before giving up teaching full-time in 1966. He represented Britain at the 1993 Venice Biennale.
Throughout his career Hamilton exhibited internationally. In 2013 a major retrospective exhibition was held at the Tate Modern, London and subsequently at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid. Hamilton's work is held by almost every major museum in the world.
Richard Hamilton died aged 89 in 2011, in Oxfordshire, England.
Cristea Roberts Gallery is the distributor of original prints from the Richard Hamilton Estate.
Online Exhibition | Towards a Definitive Statement
Richard Hamilton (1922 – 2011), arguably the most influential British artist of his generation, will be celebrated with an online exhibition from 8 January - 19 February 2021.
Photo: Richard Hamilton at home in Northend, Oxfordshire, c. 2006 © 2020 the Estate of Richard Hamilton