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RICHARD HAMILTON (1922-2011)
PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE NEW YORK COLLECTOR
RICHARD HAMILTON (1922-2011)

Swingeing London III (Lullin 84)

Details
RICHARD HAMILTON (1922-2011)
Swingeing London III (Lullin 84)
screenprint in colors with collage, 1972, on Hodgkinson mould-made, signed in pencil, numbered 5/19 (there were also 2 artist's proofs), published by Petersburg Press, London, with full margins, generally in very good condition, framed
L. 26 7/8 x 23 5/8 in. (683 x 600 mm.)
S. 27½ x 37 1/8 in. (699 x 943 mm.)

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Lot Essay

The notorious 1967 drug bust at Keith Richards' Redlands sparked maniacal media attention and brought John Twines' iconic press photograph, showing Mick Jagger and Hamilton's then art dealer Robert Fraser cuffed together in a police van, to the front page of newspapers worldwide. It also incensed Hamilton, who virtually led a vanguard of British Post-War artists since his 1956 seminal work Just What Is It That Makes Today's Homes So Different, So Appealing, some of whom were also represented by Fraser throughout the 1960s. Their outrage quietly developed into an exhibition in support of Fraser at his empty gallery space, comprised mostly of press clippings, and from 1967-72 a series of works formed (Swingeing London), a pun on both the swinging London lifestyle, much maligned in the tabloids, and the 'swingeing' sentence levied by the judge ("There are times when a swingeing sentence can act as a deterrent").

The group of works culminated in Swingeing London III, at once recognized for Hamilton's colorful and striking manipulation of Twine's photograph and his impersonal detachment from the event, then 5 years removed; Fraser in the sunglasses and Jagger in the green jacket are now hardly recognizable. Perhaps most surprising is how fortuitously the final product came about: while working through the various screens of color for the 1972 print Release, whose publication benefited the eponymous association that provided legal and social aid to those often charged with drug abuse (Jim Dine and David Hockney were also contributors), Hamilton reconsidered printing the final black screen in order to forego the half-toning typically found in tabloid illustration. With a number of surplus proofs (these would make up the irregularly numbered edition of 19 for Swingeing London III), he added seven more colors. The result was exceptional, yielding a more colorful palette and a flattening of the image more akin to the poster qualities of Pop Art.

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