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Richard Hamilton

Born in London, England in 1922, Richard Hamilton left school early on and began work as an apprentice for a company that produced electrical equipment.

Richard Hamilton

Seeing that he made a good draftsman and had a natural talent for drawing, he studied first at the Royal Academy, where he was dropped due to being considered a poor student. Losing his status as a student forced him to serve in the military during the war, but he later studied art at the Slade School of Fine Art before going on to teach at various colleges and universities during the 1950's and 1960's. While associated with the Independent Group, he organized several exhibitions, including Man, Machine and Motion and Growth and Form. His collage Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing? which was displayed in 1956 during the This is Tomorrow exhibition has an important place in art history as a major example of early pop art. His work has been exhibited all over the world and he is considered one of the most important artists in the pop art movement.


He has been featured in a multitude of exhibitions since his early efforts, including museums all over Europe and even modern art museums in the United States. In addition to his many solo and collaborative exhibitions, he has been the recipient of a number of accolades throughout his career, including the Max Beckmann Prize, the Arnold Bode Prize, and the Talens Prize International.


He attended the first meeting of the Independent Group in 1952, and here he learned of the various proto-pop art collage works that had arisen in the years before thanks to a presentation by Eduardo Paolozzi.


He took on many responsibilities at the ICA, where the Independent Group would meet, and he designed many of the exhibitions that would be staged there. Through his connections with the group and with the gallery he became a teacher in Newcastle Upon Tyne, where he remained into the mid 1960's. With his teaching, he influenced many young artists that would later become influential themselves, and he became greatly admired. Hamilton lectured many times on pop art and deconstructed the various components of it. In this way, he often served as both an artist and a critic, and helped to make sense of the movement in a way that more silent artists did not.


Always fascinated by modern progress and technology, these themes feature heavily in Hamilton's work, and much of his pieces are hybrids of art and industrial products, as influenced by his early work as an apprentice at an industrial firm. Later in his life, he designed several casings for computers, among some other commercial products that dealt with electronics.


Hamilton was still producing art in 2011 when he died at age 89. He was in the midst of working on a project involving photoshopped images that were meant to illustrate a scene from the novel The Unknown Masterpiece. The images were intended to be produced with an inkjet printer, but the work remains unfinished.


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The Independent Group

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