Richard Hamilton 1922–2011
Swingeing London 67 1968
Etching and aquatint on mould-made paper with embossing, metallic foil die-stamping and collage 13 ¼ × 22 inches (34 × 55.7 cm) image
Signed and numbered, from the edition of 70.
Printed by Grafica Uno, Milan; published by Petersburg Press, London.
Pop Art pioneer and founder of the Independent Group, Hamilton was at the core of London’s avant-garde art scene from the late 1940s onwards. He devised and curated several important exhibitions in the 1950s. Highly innovative, his art embraced many elements of popular and mass culture (television, computer technology, gadgets and consumerism).
Swingeing London is a fulcrum of his fascinations: current affairs, photography, celebrity, and alternative culture. Based on news footage photography, the scene shows Mick Jagger in the back of a police van handcuffed to Robert “Groovy Bob” Fraser, whose eponymous gallery briefly lit up the 1960’s art world. He and Jagger had appeared in court on drugs charges: both were convicted. It was a case which Hamilton returned to in several other prints. Swingeing (when used without the e) referred to contemporary London and (as spelt in his title) referred to the disproportionate strictness of the sentence passed down on Fraser and Jagger.