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Bonhams 29 November Print Sale Features Works by Richard Hamilton

Important works by the printmaker and Father of British Pop-Art, Richard Hamilton, who died earlier this year, lead Bonhams Print sale on 29 November in London.

Richard Hamilton (British, 1922-2011), I’m Dreaming of a Black Christmas (Lullin 82). Screenprint on collotype with collage, 1971, on Schoeller Elfenebein-Karton, signed and numbered 67/150, printed at E Schreiber, Stuttgart and H P Haas, Stuttgart and Dietz Offisin, Lengmoos, Bavaria, published by the Petersburg Press, London, with full margins, 749 x 1000mm (29 1/2 x 39 3/8in)(SH) (unframed). Estimate: £8,000-12,000, € 9,200-14,000, US$ 13,000-19,000. Photo: Bonhams.

They include ‘Release’ his famous depiction of the arrest of Mick Jagger and art dealer, Robert Fraser, for possession of drugs at a notorious party at the country house of Bill Whyman. Jagger’s subsequent conviction provoked an outcry and an editorial in the Times under the heading, “Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?” questioning the sentence. Based on a photograph printed in the Daily Sketch on 29 June 1967, ‘Release’ was created in 1972 to raise money for a prisoners’ charity and became one of Hamilton’s best known images. It is estimated at £15,000-20,000.

Hamilton often used photographs or film stills in his work and in the 1971, ‘I’m dreaming of a Black Christmas’ (£8,000-12,000) he took colour frames from the Bing Crosby movie, ‘Holiday Inn’ and turned them into an ironic commentary on the film’s hit song, ‘White Christmas’.

‘Picasso’s Meninas’ (£15,000-20,000) is a witty take on Velazquez’s most famous picture as interpreted by another Spanish master, Picasso. It comes from Hamilton’s portfolio, ‘Homage à Picasso’, executed in 1973 as part of the celebrations to mark Picasso’s 90th birthday. Drawing both on the original and on Picasso’s own 58 interpretations of ‘Las Meninas’, Hamilton, in fact, paid homage to the work of both men.

In complete contrast is a very early work, ‘Structure’ which dates from 1950. This rare etching with aquatint and roulette, is one of only a few impressions. It is signed and numbered 4/20 in pencil and was printed by the artist at the Slade School of Art, London. It is estimated at £2,000-3,000.

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