A Pop Art Fashion Statement

Artist Richard Hamilton's 'Fashion Plate'

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As the retrospective exhibition of the Father of Pop Art, Richard Hamilton (1922-2011) is enjoyed and explored at Tate Modern, Fashion Plate, one of the highlights of his 1970 retrospective at the Tate, will be offered in a sale of Modern & Contemporary Prints at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions in London on Thursday 27th March 2014.

Fashion Plate is the edition which came from the series of 12 unique works entitled 'Cosmetic Studies.' Created in 1969-70 they were indicative of Hamilton's penchant for using highly recognisable images from different art forms, and redefining them in a new context.

After World War II the pop art movement celebrated fashion and popular culture. Clothing and fashions which had played a supporting role in art history were now the primary focus for artists like Hamilton, who famously defined 'Pop' as: "popular, transient, expendably, low cost, mass produced, young, witty, sexy, gimmicky, glamorous and big business."

Fashion Plate uses photographs of actress Sophia Loren taken from a fashion magazine, with a screenprint overlay. In collaboration with photographer Tony Evans, Hamilton shot studio equipment used for fashion photography to act as a frame for his reformed portrait, and to emphasise the fashion and pop art imagery. The striking lithograph was created in Milan, and then retouched by Hamilton in London using actual cosmetics.

Unlike his Pop Art contemporaries who obsessed over branding and advertising, works like this express how Hamilton used the materials that form our commercial world to create fine art. He once said; "The artist's job has always been to select and reassemble elements from a chancing, chaotic, experience of the world. In creating order, coherence and stability from the flux of experience the artist produces an icon - an epiphany. He has to grab, to formalize, some instant of enlightenment." The print is estimated to sell for £10,000-15,000. [Lot 403]

Elsewhere in the sale a still proof from the collaborative work, Stillness at the Speed of light, by pop and fashion icon Grace Jones and ground-breaking light artist, Chris Levine (b.1972). Introduced by milliner and designer, Philip Treacy, the proof is one of a number of 3D portraits created by the pair for their 2010 exhibition at The Vinyl Factory, London.

Levine, who is most famous for his 2012 portrait of the Queen entitled, Lightness of Being, spoke about Grace Jones at the time of the exhibition: "She is so much more than a singer, more a performance artist - a one-off superstar...like me, she is always reaching out into new sensory territories and combined we have a good chemistry." The print is estimated to sell for £500-700. [Lot 444]

The auction will be held at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions saleroom in London's Mayfair, with public viewing from Sunday 23rd - Thursday 27th March. Online bidding with no additional premium will be available via www.bloomsburyauctions.com.


Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions are a UK 'top 5' auctioneer of fine art and collectibles. As part of Stanley Gibbons we are the only UK stock-exchange listed firm of auctioneers and occupy the same stable as coin specialists Baldwin's, and Frasers Autograph's. Established in 1759, we have the broadest and most regular calendar of specialist catalogued sales in the industry, numbering over 150 per annum, and provide vendors and buyers alike access to market-leading specialist advice in any number of collecting fields. We operate from salerooms in Donnington Priory (near Newbury), London's Mayfair, Bristol and Godalming.

Bloomsbury Auctions - 13th March 2014