• Post War and Contemporary Art  auction at Christies

    Sale 7834

    Post War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction

    11 February 2010, London, King Street

  • Lot 17

    Richard Hamilton (b. 1922)

    Towards a Definitive Statement on the Coming Trends in Men's Wear and Accessories (a) Sketch II

    Price Realised  

    Richard Hamilton (b. 1922)
    Towards a Definitive Statement on the Coming Trends in Men's Wear and Accessories (a) Sketch II
    gouache, silver paint, metal foil and collage on paper
    10 x 14in. (25.4 x 35.6cm.)
    Executed in 1962


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    'It became immediately apparent that fashion depends upon an occasion, season, time of day and, most importantly, the area of activity in which the wearer is involved. A definitive statement seemed hardly possible without some preliminary investigation into specific concepts of masculinity. Man in a technological environment was the first area. Space research was then throwng up its early heroes, every freckle on Glenn's face was familiar to the world. J.F. Kennedy had made his incredibly moving speech inviting all peoples to join together in the great tasks awaiting mankind - the exploration of the stars among them [...]'(Hamilton, quoted in Richard Hamilton: Paintings etc. '56-64, exh. cat., London, 1964, unpaged)

    An important document of early Pop Art from one of its leading pioneers, Towards a Definitive Statement on the Coming Trends in Men's Wear and Accessories (a) Sketch II relates to a series of four pictures that Richard Hamilton created in 1962 which now reside in the Tate, London, Art Institute of Chicago and Museum Ludwig, Cologne. The present work specifically relates to the Tate's piece: Towards a Definitive Statement on the Coming Trends in Men's Wear and Accessories (a) Together let us Explore the Stars. Using the progressive collage of popular printed and ready-made materials which marked out the development of Pop art, this work revels in the glamour and fetishisation of technology and space exploration which had reached its peak following Yuri Gagarin's first manned space flight in 1961.

    The various similarities and differences between this work and the final version in the Tate provide fascinating insights into Hamilton's thought process and working process: the Tate work clearly echoes the general composition of the present example, yet has various differences as well, not least the inclusion of J.F. Kennedy's face in the Tate example. A key subject in early Pop, his presidential drive to get a man into space was seen as key to the future of society. Indeed, Hamilton's use of foil to the left of the composition of the present work seems to be a reference to space suits and its metallic sheen and reflection creates a very futuristic aesthetic.

    Hamilton himself discussed this series, and the Tate work to which the current example is so intrinsically linked, in a catalogue published only two years after their execution:
    'As was the case with Hers is a Lush Situation the idea for Towards a Definitive Statement on the Coming Trends in Men's Wear and Accessories came directly from a fragment of text; in this case a headline from a Playboy section on make fashion. The 'Towards' was added to my title because I hoped to arrive at a definitive statement but never reached a point where I felt able to drop the tentative prefix.' (Hamilton, quoted in Richard Hamilton: Paintings etc. '56-64, exh. cat., London, 1964, unpaged).

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    Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.


    Provenance

    E.J. Power Collection, London.
    Acquired from the above by the present owner.


    Literature

    Richard Hamilton: Studies-Studien 1937-1977, exh. cat., Bielefeld, Kunsthalle, 1978, no. 80 (illustrated, p. 121).
    R. Hamilton, Collected Works: 1953-1982, London 1982 (illustrated in colour, p. 46).
    Richard Hamilton, exh. cat., Barcelona, Museu d'Art Contemporani, 2003, no. 98 (illustrated in colour, p. 34).


    Exhibited

    London, Hanover Gallery, Richard Hamilton: Paintings etc. '56-64, October-November 1964, no. 15 (illustrated).
    London, Tate Gallery, Richard Hamilton, March-April 1970, no. 53 (illustrated, p. 43). This exhibition later travelled to Eindhoven, Stedelijk van Abbemuseum, May-June 1970 and Bern, Kunsthalle, July-August 1970.
    New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Richard Hamilton, September-November 1973, no. 45 (illustrated, p. 40). This exhibition later travelled to Munich, Galerie im Lenbachhaus, March-May 1974, Tübingen, Kunsthalle, May-June 1974 and Berlin, Nationalgalerie, July-August 1974.