28. Richard Hamilton (1922-2011) L is for ELLE oil and graphite on printed magazine cover laid onto board, 1967, signed in black ink and titled on a label affixed verso,
310 x 230 mm (12 1/4 x 9 in)
Provenance: Private Collection UK, since circa 1970
L is for Elle was produced at the request of the artist Ian Breakwell for a special double issue of Exit Magazine. Breakwell intended issues 7/8 to be known as the Exit Alphabet Box, and to this end he contacted 13 artists, randomly selecting 2 letters for each artist, their remit was to produce a drawing, construction, poem etc, answering the question "A-Z is for …
Breakwell ran out of money before the issue could be published and the present work has remained in the same collection since the early 1970's when it was acquired from Breakwell by the present owner.
L is for Elle, is an intriguing work, produced at the height of his exploration into Pop Art and consumer culture, the work precedes the Fashion Plate series by some 2 years, serving as an important stepping stone to the deconstructed woman of Fashion Plate
Taking Elle as his starting point, Hamilton eliminates the model almost entirely, reducing her to a mere "shadow of her former self'. Hamilton's woman is on the verge of obliteration, the merest trace of her remains, and only through this almost total destruction of the model is he able progress to the construction of one.
Conversely Fashion Plate starts with Elle, effectively his mighty Duchampian anti-fashionplate, and like Frankenstein's monster, the model is re-built, formed from segments and sections of multiple beings, born from almost nothingness into Hamilton's ideal woman.
This play on positive and negative imagery is also one that Hamilton was greatly interested in, in the late 60's, and L is for Elle represents one of his earliest explorations, progressing later into works such as A Portrait of the Artist by Francis Bacon (1970-71), and of course becoming most solid in the works White and Black Christmas (1967-71). This lot also includes a copy of Elle issue No.1133, the original source material for the present work
est. £70000 – £90000