Richard Hamilton Richard Hamilton

In the 1950s, a group of artist and writers at the Institute of Contemporary Arts formed the Independent Group. At cornerstone of the group's ethos was to use visual sources from consumerist culture, an idea that had formerly been rejected by artists, especially the Abstract Expressionists.

Richard Hamilton, Just What Is It That Makes Today's Homes So Different, So Appealing? (1956) Richard Hamilton, Just What Is It That Makes Today's Homes So Different, So Appealing? (1956)

This movement would pave the way for Pop Art. In 1956, East London's Whitechapel Gallery held the This is Tomorrow exhibition. One of the breakthrough works of the show was Hamilton's Just What Is It That Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing? (1956.) Hamilton used collage to juxtapose art with images from advertising. A muscle-bound Adam and scantily-cald Eve sit surrounded by the trappings of post-War consumerism.

The is an air of parody and humour to the piece, as appliances such as a television and vacuum appear oversized for the small apartment. The seminal piece is widely recognised as the starting point of Pop Art.

As well as motifs of American materialism, Hamilton includes the works of his American contemporaries, and future Pop artists. The painting on the back wall evokes Lichtenstein. The lollipop is an Oldenburg, whilst the female nude is a Wesselman and finally he canned ham is a Warhol.

The work highlights two changes occurring in the 20th century: how strange these appliances must have been for the first generations to use them and how artists were borrowing images from the everyday to create high art.

My Marilyn 1965 Richard Hamilton 1922-2011 Presented by Rose and Chris Prater through the Institute of Contemporary Prints 1975. Image: Tate My Marilyn 1965 Richard Hamilton 1922-2011 Presented by Rose and Chris Prater through the Institute of Contemporary Prints 1975. Image: Tate

''Pop Art should be popular, transient, expendable, low-cost, mass-produced, young, witty, sexy, gimmicky, glamorous, and big business.'' - Richard Hamilton

In 2014, the Tate Modern held the first retrospective to explore Hamilton's career from the experimental period of the 1950s through to his final painting in 2011.

Swingeing London 67 (f) 1968-9 Richard Hamilton 1922-2011 Purchased 1969. Image: Tate Swingeing London 67 (f) 1968-9 Richard Hamilton 1922-2011 Purchased 1969. Image: Tate

Hamilton's ability to embrace all things kitsch and consumer went on to influence the work of Young British Artists of the 1990s, including Damien Hirst, who once described Hamilton as ''the greatest."

Hamilton also inspired fellow British Pop artist Peter Blake, who designed the cover for the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band released in 1967.

Peter Blake's design for the cover of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Peter Blake's design for the cover of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club

Richard Hamilton's cover for the Beatle's 1968 album Richard Hamilton's cover for the Beatle's 1968 album

The following year, the Beatles released The White Album, designed by Hamilton, which was in stark contrast to the exuberant cover of Sgt. Pepper's. The cover consisted of a white square with the band's name displayed slightly off centre. Hamilton designed the collage inside which included images of the band a naked John Lennon in bed next to Yoko Ono and Paul McCartney submerged in a bathtub

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