Richard Hamilton

Biography of Richard Hamilton

Richard Hamilton (born 1922 in London, UK, died 2011) was a British painter and graphic designer. Upon graduating from the Royal Academy Schools and the Slade School of Art in the 1950s, he became a member of The Independent Group, an artist association regarded as the forerunner of the British Pop-Art movement. Inspired by the American culture of commerce, Richard Hamilton worked with materials such as Hollywood-posters, footage and advertising leaflets. The artist soon became a central figure in the international Pop-Art scene, himself describing the movement as “popular, transient, expendable, low cost, mass produced, young, witty, sexy, gimmicky, glamorous, big business”.


One of Richard Hamilton’s landmark works is the collage, Just What Is It That Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing? (1956). In addition to collages, the creation of multiples and prints always played an important role in Hamilton’s work as he consistently attempted to challenge himself. The graphic print, in particular, was one of his favorite mediums. Richard would commonly reproduce already existing works, which he then decontextualized through the use of different colors, materials and techniques. 1968 saw Richard Hamilton designing a record cover for the White Album by the British Pop sensation, The Beatles. The original vinyl copies had the band’s name embossed on a white background, and each pressing was allocated a number, a nod to the artist’s love of multiples.


Keen to break boundaries and experiment with new technologies, Richard Hamilton began to create digital artworks in the 1980s and was honored with the renowned World Print Council Award in 1983. Throughout the 1990s, Richard Hamilton further served as an influence to the Young British Artists, among them Damien Hirst who expressed that Hamilton was one of the greatest artists he knew of.


Dedicated retrospectives and exhibitions of Richard Hamilton’s work have been held in prestigious institutions, namely the Tate Britain and Tate Modern in London, the Institute of Contemporary Art, London, the Serpentine Gallery, London and the MoMA in New York. In 1993, Richard Hamilton was also selected to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale.

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