142
JUMP TO LOT
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Day Auction

|
London

Richard Hambleton
1952 - 2017
BATTLE SCENE PAINTING
signed and dated 83 on the reverse
acrylic and plastic figurines on canvas
244 by 101.5 cm. 96 by 40 in.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner

Exhibited

New York, Piezo Electric Gallery, Richard Hambleton, September 1983

Catalogue Note

“[Richard] Hambleton can handle paint”, New York Times art critic Michael Brenson wrote. “When he throws white or black on the canvas, his waves break, his rodeo rider bucks, a man shot seems blown apart” (Michael Benson cited in: Michael Small, ‘Headed for the Galleries, Richard Hambleton Casts His Painted Shadows on New York’s Nightlife’, People Magazine, June 1984, online). Deft brushstrokes emerge from clouds of dark paint splatters, forming effortless figures captured in a moment of action. Painted on canvas rather than on the side of a building or under a bridge like the majority of the street artist’s early works, Battle Scene Painting is no less dramatic. Indeed, more than 1,000 people trudged through a Manhattan snowstorm in March of 1984, a year after the execution of Battle Scene Painting, to view Hambleton’s larger-than-life canvases, works on linen, and mirrored Plexiglas work at the Salvatore Ala Gallery.

Unlike his contemporaries Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Hambleton was not interested in the cult of celebrity, even going so far as to deny Andy Warhol’s invitation to sit for a portrait on more than one occasion. As a result, Hambleton remained largely out of the spotlight until the premiere of the award-winning documentary Shadowman directed by Oren Jacoby which premiered on December 2017, two months after the death of the artist. The title for the film originates from Hambleton’s affectionate sobriquet of the same name which itself comes from his 1960s series of over 600 paintings featuring dark and looming silhouetted figures for which he became known. Combined with a series of faux-crime scenes executed in his signature graffiti-like style, these unsettling shadows haunted the streets of New York, disturbing the emotional stability of each passer-by.

Hambleton moved beyond New York in the 1980s when his works were exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 1984 and 1988. The artist subsequently painted ‘Shadowmen’ across the streets of Venice, later moving on to Rome, Paris, and London and even going so far as to paint two life-sized ‘Shadowmen’ on either side of the Berlin wall. Hambleton’s splattered works have been permanently imprinted on our collective consciousness, becoming an instantly recognisable symbol that encapsulates a turbulent moment in history.

Contemporary Art Day Auction

|
London