Richard Hamilton – The Last Works at the National Gallery
In the Sunley Room of the National Gallery, from the 10th October until the 13th January, there will be exhibited the final works of the astounding British artist Richard Hamilton. The collection features primarily his work of the last ten years (Hamilton died in 2011), with some earlier works included.
London-born Hamilton left school without qualifications and, after a series of unprofitable jobs during the Second World War, made his way into the Royal Academy of Arts before his expulsion for failing to “benefit” from instruction. His failures soon turned to successes as his work gained recognition, initially as a proponent of Pop Art and then in his experimentation with new technologies that culminated with digital technologies like Photoshop, and finally the works exhibited over the next few months.
Hamilton’s artistic career spanned several movements (loosely termed) in the visual arts, and his work is a compendium of classical and modern influences. His subject is almost exclusively the female nude, so honoured throughout time, and she occupies, varyingly: modern homes, Greek pergolas, and rustic, minimal settings. The settings and the women themselves have all never been touched by a paintbrush, but are computer-generated – in some, this is imperceptible, in others it is done as to be obvious. As a result, many of Hamilton’s works feature a juxtaposition of lifeless, rigid and computer-generated icons besides livelier, recognisably artf