Golden Oldies: Highlights from Art Basel 2013
Edition: Per the Tate Museum, London, 1000 copies were printed on Opaline machine-made wove stock and a further 1000 were printed on Fabriano paper. 1950 copies comprise the regular edition and are unsigned. The remaining fifty copies on Fabriano paper comprise the deluxe edition and are signed by the artist. A further fifty artist's proofs on Fabriano paper are signed; some artist's proofs on either stock were dedicated and signed by the artist.
Publisher: Edition ED912 in Milan, with the publisher's justification verso, numbered 72 in type from the stated edition of 1000.
Hamilton created Swingeing London 67 - poster in response to a commission by Edition ED912 in Milan, a distributor of art posters. The poster is one of a group of paintings and prints Hamilton made after his art dealer Robert Fraser (1937-86) was arrested and imprisoned for the possession of heroin. On 12 February 1967 the police raided a party at the Sussex farmhouse of Keith Richards, one of the members of the rock group, the Rolling Stones, where they found evidence of the consumption of various drugs. On 27 June 1967, Fraser and Mick Jagger (the band's lead singer) were found guilty of the possession of illegal drugs. The following day the two men were handcuffed to each other and driven to court in a police van, where they were sentenced to six months and three months respectively.
During the months of Fraser's imprisonment, his gallery was closed while an agency he normally employed to collect exhibition reviews also collected press cuttings documenting the trial, which had been given front-page coverage in the newspapers. Fraser's secretary was happy to lend Hamilton the collection of press cuttings from which he made the collage on which the poster is based. Swingeing London 67 - source material (Daniela Palazzoli, Milan) combines newspaper cuttings with pieces of wrapping paper from an incense packet, a fragment from a Mars Bar wrapper and a section of a painting by the painter Bridget Riley (born 1931), who was also represented by Robert Fraser Gallery at that time. The page is dominated by the headlines 'Stones: "A Strong, Sweet Smell of Incense"', referring to the haze of incense smoke that greeted the police when they raided Richards's house. While the prosecution assumed that incense was a cover for the smell of cannabis, Hamilton's use of the headline subtly puns on the 'incensed' media frenzy and mystifying reports. Below the headline is a photograph of Fraser and Jagger trying to shield their faces from photographers as they are snapped, handcuffed together, in the police van on their way from jail to court. The original flash photograph was taken by a press photographer called John Twine and published in the Daily Sketch (29 June 1967). Hamilton used it as the basis for all the other works he made on this event, including the painting Swingeing London 67 (f) 1968-9 (T01144) and the prints Release1972 (P04254), Release Stage Proofs (P02416-32) and Swingeing London III 1972 (P04255).
Signature: Signed and numbered 21/50 in pencil, lower left Edition: From the deluxe edition
Publisher: Edition ED912 in Milan
Richard Hamilton: Prints 1939-83, Stuttgart and London 1984, p.79, reproduced p.79.
Pace Gallery, NY (art transport sticker verso of backing board)
In his celebrated collages, Richard Hamilton explored the relationship between fine art, product design, and popular culture, setting the stage for Pop art. His most iconic work, Just What Is it that Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing? (1956)—a scene comprised of images cut from magazines ads, showing a semi-nude couple in their living space—was produced for the groundbreaking exhibition “This is Tomorrow,” organized by the Independent Group at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London in 1956. Throughout his career, Hamilton continued to break down hierarchies of artistic value, making silkscreens of Mick Jagger’s drug arrest, producing studies of industrial design objects (like toasters), and designing the cover of the Beatles’ 1968 White Album.
British, 1922-2011, London, United Kingdom