Richard Hamilton as shot by Lennon, Warhol, et al.

The Tate's Hamilton retrospective includes a collection of Polaroid portraits, all shot by famous fellow-artists
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Richard Hamilton by Rita donagh © The estate of Richard Hamilton

1 / 9 Richard Hamilton by Rita donagh © The estate of Richard Hamilton

Richard Hamilton by Roy Lichtenstein © The estate of Richard Hamilton

2 / 9 Richard Hamilton by Roy Lichtenstein © The estate of Richard Hamilton

Richard Hamilton by John Lennon © The estate of Richard Hamilton

3 / 9 Richard Hamilton by John Lennon © The estate of Richard Hamilton

Richard Hamilton by David-hockney © The estate of Richard Hamilton

4 / 9 Richard Hamilton by David-hockney © The estate of Richard Hamilton

Richard Hamilton by Man Ray © The estate of Richard Hamilton

5 / 9 Richard Hamilton by Man Ray © The estate of Richard Hamilton

Richard Hamilton by Gerhard Richter © The estate of Richard Hamilton

6 / 9 Richard Hamilton by Gerhard Richter © The estate of Richard Hamilton

Richard Hamilton by Henri Cartier Bresson © The estate of Richard Hamilton

7 / 9 Richard Hamilton by Henri Cartier Bresson © The estate of Richard Hamilton

Richard Hamilton by Andy Warhol © The estate of Richard Hamilton

8 / 9 Richard Hamilton by Andy Warhol © The estate of Richard Hamilton

Richard Hamilton by Francis Bacon, © The estate of Richard Hamilton

9 / 9 Richard Hamilton by Francis Bacon, © The estate of Richard Hamilton


In 1968 Richard Hamilton visited Roy Lichtenstein's studio. During the their meeting Lichtenstein took Hamilton's picture with a new camera the American artist has recently acquired, an early Polaroid.

Charmed by the instantaneous image, Hamilton began to collect Polaroids of himself taken by other notable artists. The series, which runs to a little over 120 images, were shot between '68 and 2001 and appear in a dedicated room at the Tate Modern's current retrospective.

Initially, Hamilton hoped each picture would include a portion of a work undertaken by the artist who shot it; in the Lichtenstein photo you can make out one of Roy's cartoon canvasses. However, Hamilton soon abandoned this, and observed instead that "that the artist does have a specific kind of eye, an attitude that will direct the image in an entirely personal way."

Indeed, the Francis Bacon's shot has all the dysmorphic menace of the painter's canvasses; Man Ray employs a simple, yet remarkably effective piece of visual trickery; and the Warhol's photo (not entirely safe for work) has the priapic, after-hours charm of a lot of Andy's imagery.

What's equally striking is now uniform Hamilton looks. His face and body barely change over five decades. "I realise how silly, how banal, I often look," the artist once wrote. "The same face and figure constantly reappearing (though it ages over the years)."

Make up your own mind up about Hamilton, his artistic milieu, and perhaps the aging process, at the Tate until 26 May 2014. And for more on his formative years consider our Pop books.


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